Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Monday, January 26, 2004

Ron "Cowboy" Oliver Remembrance Service

Death is always heartbreaking when we are left behind with only memories of a loved one. And "Why?" tends to be the question we all ask when we receive tragic news of a person's passing. Although we may never know the reason for a person's death, we can only pray for a positive reaction from a situation most of us see as negative. The Bible and science tells us that when we plant a seed, it must die in order for it to spring back to life as a new life.

Cowboy, the person, has moved on into eternity. However, Cowboy’s body will be laid to rest in the ground like a seed. The question I ask you, what kind of new life will spring up from that seed? We can only pray that his death will lead to more awareness and concern in regards to the homeless in Williamsburg. The newspapers pointed out that he had a record of alcohol related convictions, but if you read the stories, what you should have realized is that he was human. Just like all of us, he had a past. Just like all of us, he had sins. But what people have failed to point out is the kind of person he was. On Sunday, we held a remembrance service in Cowboy's honor. The people who did share their memories of him all said "he was a great friend who would do anything to help his friends or another person. He was a kind and a gentle man, with a good sense of humor." Although I did not know him well, I did know he was a caring person. I am saddened that I did not have the opportunity to know him better. But what is sadder is to know you didn't have the opportunity to know him (or did you get the opportunity but passed it by because he was homeless?)

Unfortunately, homelessness has such a great stigma attached to it; many of us remain in fear of a person who is looking for a hand up. Instead of seeing a person as homeless, will you reach out in order to get to know them and possibly see them as a friend? Remember, the most famous homeless person, Jesus, did not turn His back on us because of our flaws. Nor does He turn away from us when we need a hand up. He accepts us as we are and asks us to do the same. Turning your back on a homeless person is the same as turning your back on God's Son. So again I ask, will you let Cowboy's “planting” lead you to new life and new understanding, instead of seeing only his flaws that were made public?

We extend our condolences and prayers to the Oliver Family, Margaret Perkins, and Cowboy's friends. He will be greatly missed.

Thank you to Food Lion (downtown) for donating food platters; Jeff's Flowers for their donation of an arrangement; Bucktrout Funeral Home for donating a tent; Whiting's Funeral Home for donating chairs; Anne Moore, Steve Bingham, Pastor Dave Rochford of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, and Pastor Bill Cashman of York River Baptist Church, for offering support and counsel; and Oliver Harvey and Maxine Halloway for donating money and making vital phone calls for the arrangements of the service.


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