Today’s must-read story is the Pioneer Press’ Mara Gottfried’s report on Ramsey County deputy Teri Kinney, who takes part in patrols to help get the homeless into shelters during horribly cold weather, the likes of which we’ve seen plenty of this winter, of course.
She signs up for the shifts because she’s been looking for her brother, whom she hadn’t seen in 10 years until she spotted him at an overflow shelter at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center not long ago.
He’s mentally ill and living outdoors.
“He’s always kind of embarrassed about his situation, but I just told him not to be and gave him a hug,” Kinne said. “I asked him if he’s OK and if he needs anything because he never asks for help.”
When she gave him the jacket, “He said, ‘Well, I’ll take this, but somebody else can use this more than me,’ ” Kinne recounted. “That’s how he is.”
Kinne hasn’t seen her brother since, but she’s ready for the next time. She noticed he was carrying his belongings in a plastic bag and they were spilling out, so she bought a backpack and filled it with supplies.
Her 12-year-old daughter made John a red, white and blue bracelet, which she taped to the note inside the bag.
Kinne wrote the names of all their siblings on the letter and ended it by writing, “We are only a call away. Please take care of yourself,” before signing it with a heart.
He stayed with some of her siblings for awhile, but he doesn’t want to accept their help. It’s a story that could be told by hundreds — thousands — of other families in the metro.
She didn’t know he was homeless until he returned to the Twin Cities from Kansas a couple of years ago, and she saw his picture on a Facebook post of a group that works with homeless people.
The law enforcement officers involved in helping the homeless struggle against the odds and there’s evidence their work is not in vain. Forty-six homeless individuals have died from the cold this winter in the state; that’s down from 58 a year ago.
Archive: Homeless man who suffered frostbite is reunited with dog he wouldn’t give up (NewsCut)