"Leo Gibson is my name and I may just be another face, another name, or another client to you. Not too many people knew my past, my pain, or that I slept in a disabled car. You may see my smile, but it is a front, for I still feel the loss of my wife who died six years ago of cancer; and I still carry the memories of a young Marine serving his nation in Vietnam.
    I am mostly unemployed and sometimes have nothing to eat. My only family, my sister, asked me to get my disabled car out of her driveway and she shut off her outside now I had no water to clean up with. I'm not sure how I got in this mess. I got hurt on the job a couple of times and maybe my fatigues and green cap scare people away....Who knows? Does anyone care?
    I work when and where I can. I finally found rest in a friend's camper and shower at a friend's place. I found daily encouragement from friends who helped me get retrained for work that I could do. It was a friend who helped me find a new job. It was a friend who gave me a ride, or meal in the evening. My friend gave me encouragement, hope, a handshake and a pat on the back. My friends understood that I was not a bum...but a person who just wanted to be loved, accepted and self-sustaining...they believed in me.
    My name is Leo Gibson. I passed away January 5, 2001. I am gone, but I left this life knowing that I, Leo Gibson...had friends. Thank you...for being my friend."
(Byron found Leo frozen to death in his camper the next morning.)


 Byron Erickson, Veterans Rep at the Bozeman Job Service in Southwest Montana dropped this off to me to include in the Chapter 788 newsletter. After reading it, I asked him if I could share this with the VVA Talklist as I thought many of you might appreciate it (in whatever way). He assured me he would be very pleased if I did.

Only once do we pass this way.

Those people who come to us,
What will they say?
Were we processing people like so much hay?
Or were we seeing the person,
And making their day.
Some are hard to serve or understand,
Truly each is worth a helping hand.
It doesn't hurt to be a friend
For we know not when is their end.