Looking at the Numbers

Median American Household Income: $51,939 (2013).

Median Home Price: $189,900 (2014).

Hmm…

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Stan Brock – Remote Area Medical (RAM)

“36 (AO)Seeing the [ab]people, He felt compassion for them, (AP)because they were[ac]distressed and [ad]dispirited like sheep [ae]without a shepherd. 37 Then He *said to His disciples, (AQ)The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few“. – Matthew 9:36-37

I don’t know, or even know of, many people who are wholly dedicated to a singular purpose.  I like to think of myself as a devoted follower of Christ, husband, father of three, son, brother, uncle, friend, etc. but in reality I am often divided in my focus an agenda.  If i’m being really honest, the fact is I don’t care as much as I should about the responsibility given me in all of these different roles.

I first became aware of Stan and his work when i saw the 60 Minutes segment that was done on Remote Area Medical RAM back in 2008.  Not unaware of the plight of many Americans who have little or no healthcare, I was floored by the magnitude and scope of the problem.

People line up for hours, sometimes days, hoping to get seen for medical care.
People line up for hours, sometimes days, hoping to get seen for medical care.

I got the portion of the segment where Scott talks with Joanne, a woman who was lucky enough to get in to seen, only to find out that the vision care line had closed.

“The Lord will take care of me, the Lord will provide.  The Lord will provide.” – Joanne Ford

I broke down right there and started bawling.  I cried so hard that Monica was concerned, almost afraid for me.  How could we let this happen?  How can we live in a society where this is possible?  How can people who are working or trying to find work not have the access, the right to health and medical care?

Even as typed this, I re-watched the video.  I broke down again twice before making through the end.

I don’t know how many people will read this, or where you are in life, but a human beings we have to do something about this.  People are hurting; not just in some far away country but right in your city/town/neighborhood.  Do something about it; anything, it doesn’t matter.  We can’t sit back and wait for the government or anyone else to act on our behalf, we the people need to help those who cannot help themselves.

I thank God for Stan Brock, and the countless people out there like him who see the people, harassed and helpless, and have decided to act.  I too will act.

“You know…I am sad that we are the wealthiest nation in the world, and we don’t take care of our own.” – Joanne Ford

On the Bus to the Impound Lot

Did i forget to mention that our van got towed Sunday night so I had to walk our son to the ER in his younger sibling’s stroller?  Oh yeah, pull up a chair.

So Kay-Kay and I get downstairs of our Apartment Building and I’m like “Where’s the van b?” (Kind of like how I was feeling when I was waiting for my Roshes).  I knew there was a slim-to-none chance someone vicked me for it (don’t know what the street value of an ’07 Odyssey is) so I assumed the van was sitting in an impound lot somewhere on the other side of town.

After giving him his inhaler and making sure Kay-Kay was doing better Monday morning, my next priority was to locate the van.  Pro Tip: I’ve been towed numerous times, so if you’re ever in doubt as to where your vehicle is, call your Local Police Department’s non-emergency number (usually 411).  Each time a vehicle is towed, the collector is supposed to alert the Local Police, so the owner knows the vehicle hasn’t been stolen.  I was directed to the City Impound Lot over on Lance Road.  Definitely sounding like a deserted and destitute location.

Like I said before, one of the many benefits to City Life is the access to Public Transportation.  I pulled up HRT’s website to find out which route would get me closest to my destination.  But no matter which, I would be needing my walking shoes.  15 minutes to the nearest stop on the route I needed. rarely is door-to-door transport an option.  I grabbed whatever spare cash I had and headed out the door.

Waiting for the Bus
Waiting for the Bus

I can understand why public transportation has the “poor and undesirable” stigma attached to it.  Someone from my walk of life would normally catch a ride from a friend or call a taxi before riding the bus.  Most Bus Stops are nothing more than a sign post on the side of the road.  You are exposed to the elements as well as the judgmental stares of passing motorists.  If you have a bench or even better a covered shelter, consider yourself blessed.  You had better have exact fare too, because the ticket taker doesn’t make change (I found this out the hard way).  All dignity and pride are torn from you at every turn.  Most municipalities treat Public Transportation with contempt; it’s something they feel they were forced into as part of some economic redevelopment deal from the late 80s early 90s.

Then there’s the matter of the buses and service itself.  Again, if your City or Locality cares enough to keep the fleet updated with clean-air, energy efficient vehicles (that have functioning A/C in the Summer and Heat in the Winter) count your blessings.  Too often there is refuse strewn about the seating area and floor, poor scheduling that creates log jams or overcrowding, and drivers who have checked out eons ago.  I’ve experienced the bad with the good.  To Norfolk’s credit, they do an adequate job of keeping the units clean and presentable.

The ride to the impound lot was somewhat pleasant.  Labor Day traffic is a far cry from the normal commute.  Jaywalking is a necessity for most people who ride the bus.  With 8+ travel lanes to cross in 25-30 seconds, Usain Bolt couldn’t make it through the intersection in time.  I had another 20 minutes by foot to the impound lot.  You see the foot paths created by the countless souls who’ve come this way before you.  I soon realized the importance of appropriate travel gear.  Comfortable walking shoes are a must if you’re going to be covering a lot of ground by foot, as well as a worthy knapsack or book bag.  Only carry what’s needed for the journey is long and the sun unforgiving.

Many have gone before me.
Many have gone before me.
View from the path
View from the path

At last arrived at the impound lot.  It was as I imagined it.  Situated at the end of a road in an industrial park on the City’s South East End, it was straight out of central casting, complete with a lone grizzled city employee.  I couldn’t blame her; I’d be upset too if I drew the Labor Day shift.  Once I payed the tow fee and secured my receipt, I took a seat in the lobby, waiting for the lot supervisor to escort me back to my vehicle.  He was with another “customer”.  I used this opportunity to rest and catch  my breath (the lobby was cool and refreshing after my hike from the bus stop).

Out of time
Out of time

My only company was a lying-on-it’s back cockroach in the corner.  Probably died from the long wait time.  After what was at least 30 minutes, the clerk felt sorry for me and allowed me to retrieve my van unassisted.  I was glad that cool, calm demeanor had payed this dividend.  She didn’t have to do this, so I thanks her heartily.

There are so many vehicles left in the impound lot; some indefinitely.  Each one has or had an owner, and along with it a story.  But now they sit in rows, silent and still.

There she is
There she is

Once I found the van, I started her up, and headed to the release gate.  The clerk opened it up and drive-thru, on my way home.

Freedom
Freedom