Tuesday was National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. And St. Matthew’s House held a vigil in remembrance of the lives lost in their care.
WINK News spoke with the St. Matthew’s House CEO, who read aloud the 67 names for the memorial. CEO Steve Brooder says there have been quite a few lives lost recently due to drug overdose and coronavirus.
“I think it’s very somber and very moving. We’ve had family members come by and see the names of their loved ones on the walls. I certainly feel a lot of compassion toward them,” Brooder said.
Brooder says the reason they come together on the winter solstice is that this is the longest night of the year and is known to be especially tough for those without a home.
Paul Carbone’s son died in the Lee County Jail last month. Carbone said his son, 30-year-old Michael, died from a bacterial infection that spread to his heart at the jail’s medical ward. He was in jail for six days before he died on a failure to appear in court charge for prior drug charges.
He is aware that his son wasn’t perfect. But he also will tell you that his son shouldn’t be dead. “Because he was homeless, struggled with addiction, had no money and was what really the jail and judicial system looks at as a nobody, that he was treated differently and left to die,” said Carbone.
On Tuesday night, a candle was lit in Michael’s honor and his name was one of the 67 read aloud.