Editor’s note: Send us a letter to be published in the Thanksgiving Day newspaper sharing what you are grateful for this year. Letters should be 200 words or less. Include name, town of residence and phone number/email address for confirmation. Deadline for Thanksgiving publication is noon Wednesday, Nov. 22. Letters will run on a first-come, first-serve basis. EMAIL: email@example.com
Bullying, threats forced shelter to move
I would like to take the time to let folks know how damaging sending a flyer around Jerome Park with my name and record on it could have been.
First of all, this could have put my recovery in jeopardy. However, I will say I am grateful for my Higher Power and the support group I have so I don’t have to pick up, no matter what.
Second, I have a reputation I have built in Morgantown advocating for folks who are less fortunate than others or myself. It is damaging not only to my reputation, but to also my 11-year-old daughter and to the population of individuals I was trying to help. Stigma is real thing.
I am someone with a past and, yes, it is not a beautiful one, but it does not define who I am today. Your hatred toward me for opening a warming shelter in Jerome Park has really shown what kind of community Jerome Park truly is. We knew the shelter could not be there because the threats that were made to the pastor, the unsheltered population and myself by the folks that live in this community.
The ones of you who played part in defining me as a person should be ashamed of yourselves. You have no idea the guilt and shame I carry over my past. Just to be very clear, I have not been in trouble for six years. The news you posted happened six years ago. I will pray for each of you, and I forgive you because that makes me the person I am today.
For the ones of you who cyberbullied me, just know that 19% of people who have been bullied online commit suicide. Think about that before you go after your next target.
For the ones of you who supported what I was trying to do, thank you — I appreciate you so much.
Support Bartlett House and warming shelter
I’m so grateful that our local homeless shelter, Bartlett House, has agreed to expand the number of beds on cold nights this winter. That this is happening at all is thanks to two Morgantowners who persevered, and who should be an example to all of us.
When many of us had all but given up on a winter warming shelter, Jennifer Powell and Dani Ludwig kept the vision alive, advocating strongly and widely. Now, there is a tentative agreement for Bartlett House to open a temperature-dependent shelter in Hazel’s House’s sobering center, with funding from the city and county.
Like communities all across the country, Morgantown continues to struggle with a lack of affordable housing and with the multiple epidemics of poverty, drug use disorder and untreated mental illness. There are no simple solutions, or other places would have solved this. What I appreciate about Morgantown is that we keep trying, hopefully learning from mistakes, not giving up.
My understanding is that the shelter will be open when the temperature is projected to dip below 40 degrees (when hypothermia occurs).
Key to success is making the shelter easily accessible to folks, many of whom aren’t trusting of traditional organizations. By making the decision early in the afternoon and getting the word out widely, we get the most people to safety. By creating both a welcoming and a secure environment, we will more likely see them return on cold nights and can connect them to needed services.
I encourage everyone to support Bartlett House — follow them on social media, donate, volunteer and provide feedback, as it works to quickly and effectively provide this vital service.
Belated ‘thank you’ to a Good Samaritan
On Dec. 27, 2009, at twilight, I was hit by a car at the intersection of University Avenue and the Westover bridge. After this unfortunate meeting, I tried to stand. A man came up to me and said, “Stay down. An ambulance is coming.” He remained with me until it arrived.
I never did get this man’s name, but I hope he’s reading this. Thank you, kind sir.
The new and improved mailbox in Dellslow?
Several months ago, I bemoaned “the Disappearing Drive-by Mailbox” at the Dellslow Post Office and discussed how important that box was for the handicapped, mothers of small children and older folk. This was after I had called “all the powers that be” to complain, without success. Later, I reported how Mooney’s office returned my call assuring me that a “new and improved box would be forthcoming.” I assumed it would be a drive-by box; improved by perhaps being lower for easier access or maybe the high curb would be gone.
I now believe the drive-by box has been replaced by the sturdy little box installed right next to the main sidewalk entrance to the Dellslow Post Office. This walk-up box is less than half the size of the drive-by box. The tiny new box will fill quickly — or not, since patrons are out of their cars and just five more steps will take them inside the building.
I call the new little box “sturdy.” The slot for the mail is narrow and the gauge of metal seems far greater than the old drive-by box. You could put a half dozen letters in that old box with just one shove, but now it will take a half dozen attempts to mail those same letters in the “improved” box. The nuts fixing the new box to the cement walkway are round and essentially wrench-proof.
This sturdy little box is “new” but the “improved” part, as Mooney’s representative said, may relate to its security rather than its utility. It appears built for the streets of Chicago or New York — not the serene environs of Dellslow, where post-mistresses inside never seem rushed and always have a smile and a kind word for patrons.
They are the epitome of friendly service by U.S. Postal Service employees, and if asked, they will tell you that they have no idea why the “powers that be” took away the drive-by postal box. It just happened!
Robert C. Shumaker