Remembering those without a home

Vigil honors people who died homeless in Napa
2006-12-22T00:00:00Z Remembering those without a homeBy CRISTINA DE LEON-MENJIVAR
Register Staff Writer
Napa Valley Register

For every name, the harsh sting of the metal bell was heard.

Standing in a circle on the Third Street bridge in Napa Thursday night, the longest night of the year, a group of men and women read 118 names, all of homeless people who have died on Napa streets over the past 18 years. In some cases, the identities of those whose lives were being honored were unknown to the people of Napa.

“Man from the south,” read one participant.

After each of the 118 names came a ring of the bell and a flower tossed into the Napa River.

A combination of tears and cold rain ran down many faces. Many participants were remembering a relative or friend who died. One woman lost her brother, and one man lost his three-month-old daughter.

Juan Manriquez’s  friend died recently because of an untreated injury.

“I feel good to be here. He was my friend and we always spent time together,” he said.

Some were too overwhelmed with grief to speak.

By the end of the vigil, a sea of multicolored flowers floated on the river.

“It’s upsetting because they are by themselves, many of these people go unknown or are unacknowledged because they don’t have families,” said Susan Hertel, executive director of Napa’s adult homeless shelter.

About 25 people joined Hertel to take part in the National Day of Remembrance for the homeless; some were homeless themselves, others were just people who cared.

“This is to remember those folks who died on the street or because of the street,” said Charlene Horton, program director for the shelter project. “It’s to say to this community, we are doing a lot but there is more to be done.”

Many of the homeless die because of untreated illness, alcoholism or suicide, she said.

Horton estimates that there are 350-400 homeless on Napa’s streets. About 250 of those receive services from the shelters.

Those numbers are low compared to seven years ago, when officials estimated that there were 900-1,200 homeless on Napa streets.

But, Horton emphasizes, work still needs to be done.

“It’s unconscionable for a community like Napa to have people sleeping under bridges,” she said.

Napa has more homeless services than ever before. The shelter project, under Community Action Napa Valley, runs several shelters, including two year-round shelters, a day shelter and an emergency winter shelter. Many provide hot breakfast and dinners for clients.

While many get help, there are also many who lose the battle.

“We want to remember everybody and not let them be forgotten, every year their name is read out loud, and hopefully, things begin to change,” Horton said.

118 not forgotten

Clifford Atcosta

Chole Balija

Robert Bass

Martha Bedell

Edward Billion

Scotty Blakeney

Billy Bolton

John Bradshaw

Ted Brennan

David Bunch

Jeff Campbell

Julia Carrington

June Chaney

Sara Childress

Anthony Christie

Rich Christopherson

Billie Connor

Kenny Contreras

William Cowan

Donald Cox

John Creal

Erik Davidson

Jack Deweese

Mark Dittman

Jim Dixon

Tamara Dulak

Allen Edington

Harry Edwards

Robert Edwards

David Elkinton

Michael Engeloge

Mike Farr

James Fitzgerald

Sue Fletcher

Jerry Franks

Carl Frederickson

Raymond Gaiton

Joyce Graham

Jerry Gray

Barry Greenhow

Mary Gregory

Lloyd Grief

Randy Griffin

Bob Hall

Jack Hanson

Blair Harris

Don Harris

Michael Harvey

George Hawkins

Matt Hernandez

Sandra Hernandez

George Iakorrkin

Joseph Kessinger

Gary Kollin

Joe Lamie

Ronald Lampert

Eugene LeBoe

Lee Littlejohn

Donald Lonberg

Timi Lotten

Robert Martinez

Kevin Massey

Dorthy McCan

Dave McCurdy

Decell Meyer

Rob Meza

Tino Monti

Mark Moore

Richard Morgado

Judy Mosley

Harold Moyer

John Nacey

Mike Norris

Anita Null

Judith O’Brien

Sharon Palmier

Mitchell Palzis

Phillip Perry

Anthony Plants

Sharon Plants

James Prince

Robert Rocha

Doyle Scroggins

Rick Sculliti

Ben Segura

Patrick Self

Robert Shinault

Donald Signs

Joel Silveria

Charles Smith

Julie Smith

Ken Spencer

James Sprankle

Danny Stefanni

Richard Sturges

Art Swenson

Donald Swires

Clifford Threath

Nichols Viatari

Kevin Ward

Deshawn Washington

Larry Wiloth

Lee Wilson

Terri Wilson

Darrell Wolf

Lee Yepson

Robert Yepson

Jose Zamora

Man from the South

Man on Mattress

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