Archive for the ‘Homeless’ Category


Followup on King and homeless

   Posted by: Wes Tags: ,

I moved the previous post from my old blog (I am reconfiguring my whole web site over the next 30 years or so.) I received the following comment:

1 just me // Oct 7, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Mr. Cowley,

Your comments affected me very much. I met Willam Alan King more than 25yrs ago thru my now former husband. My husband grew up with Bill and was a good friend until alcoholism took over Bill’s life . When I knew him, he was tall, attractive and outgoing. He lived with his aging mother on Cleveland Heights Blvd. Bill appeared to be somewhat successful in his business of resurfacing tennis courts until he lost his license assumingly from a DUI conviction. It is my understanding that Bill’s decline began in his late twenties when his only sibling, a brother, chose to end his life. Bill’s drinking increased as did his aggressiveness . Over the years I have seen Bill walking along S. Fla Ave or Harden Blvd and always felt sad for what he had become. Your blog and perception of Bill as a homeless bum opened my eyes to my own perception of the nameless faces I pass and label bum …..Surely those people were once the Bill King that I met so many years ago and perhaps they experienced a similar traumatic event that altered the course of their lives. Thank you for helping me see the humanity that I lost somewhere along the way.
Rest in peace Bill King .

The lady commenting hit exactly on my point for the post. We don’t really look at the homeless we see around our streets and when we do look, we see them as blemishes on our town, not as humans with wants and needs, people who once had hopes and dreams. Lakeland, Florida has several agencies working with the homeless, and for that reason we have a large population. The Talbot House is one of the best agencies, and being involved there, even on an limited basis, one can see the success and heartbreak in working with these people and their addictions and mental problems. There are successes, such as Alan, a recovering alcoholic who is in his second stay at the Talbot House. Alan is dry, sober, and is lectoring at our church. The Talbot House and having a church home has really helped Alan. But for every success there are many failures. The point is, one life saved, one person helped makes every effort worthwhile. That is the thought that has to carry the dedicated people working in this ministry.


A Meaningless Life and Death

   Posted by: Wes Tags: , ,

William Alan King died early Sunday morning on the street near my home in Lakeland. Who was King?  I don’t really know.  I talked with him several times at the Sunday School on the sidewalk across for All Saints’.  But I didn’t know him.
Photo courtesy of the Ledger

King was homeless.  I had seen him for years walking or riding a bike around town,  and he was a regular attendee at the Sunday morning gatherings  on Lemon Street.  He came by for the coffee, milk and donuts (before the city made us stop feeding them,) and hopefully some spiritual food from the bible lesson.   King died at about 12:15 AM Sunday morning when he fell into the street during a struggle with another man, and was struck by a passing pickup.  He won’t rate an obituary, just another bum.  King was mentally ill, an alcoholic I imagine and in the end had nowhere to live but on the streets, nowhere to dies but on the streets.  We can spend $600 billion on a war, $825 billion bailing out criminals on Wall Street (and funding earmarks for equally corrupt politicians,) but we can’t help people like William Alan King.