A memorial service Thursday in Marion Square honored the lives of eight men and women who died homeless this year in the tri-county area.
The 11th annual event, put on by One80 Place, is meant to serve as a reminder that homelessness is a life or death issue, according to Paul Kohlheim, chairman of the non-profit’s Board of Directors.
“Tonight, we commemorate the lives of this son and daughter, sister and brother, friend and neighbor whose homelessness certainly contributed to their deaths at such early ages,” he said. “During the season of giving, thanks and gathering with friends, most of us are comforted knowing we will go home to a warm meal and a safe place to sleep. We will leave here tonight to go to a place we call home. Not everyone has that same good fortune.”
The names of the following eight homeless men and women whose lives were recognized were read aloud at the service: Terri Evans, 57; Patrick Kelly, 63; George Parker, 61; John Parker, 61; Raheem Simpkins, 23; Scott Stallings, 63; Dave Thompson, 35; and George Whetsell, 51.
Last year, nine people were memorialized.
The Rev. Daniel Massie, a One80 Place board member, said a prayer and there were a couple songs played at the service.
“Tonight we remember and celebrate the lives of our fellow pilgrims who died in this last year in our city; who died without a home and often without hope,” Massie said. “We pray that in their death they may find what often escaped them in their life: compassion, shelter, comfort, nourishment and justice.”
Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.