Lending a hand to our friend Pete

My American Brothers and Sisters, may I please have your attention for a moment to discuss something that is important to me.  A few months ago I met our friend Pete.  I was getting out of my car and saw Pete digging through the garbage at the local gas station.  I struck up a conversation and was briefly made aware of  some of the many challenges Pete faces on a day to day basis.  I asked if I could buy him dinner and as soon as we entered the gas station the guy behind the counter started to yell at Pete "Get out of here, I told you never to come back etc etc.)  The worker came around the counter as if he was going to physically remove Pete from the store.  I got in front of Pete and met the worker and forcefully told him Pete is my friend and to back off, I explained we would be gone after Pete grabbed his egg sandwich and chocolate milk (Pete is particular like that due to a stomach issue.)

We made our purchase and went outside to continue our discussion.  The helpless, defeated, numb look on his face hit me like a ton of bricks.  You could tell he's experienced these types of incidents many a time. My heart was crying for the pain I saw in his eyes which was the genesis of my desire to help.  By chance Pete had a cell phone, and we exchanged numbers and told him I'd be in touch.

He called me the next day (and has almost every day since) and told me how thankful he was for my interest in helping him. He said the day we met he was at the end of his rope and he had been praying for an Angel.  That night, I remembered just a few days earlier day dreaming about how neat it would be if there was an "Uber" like app that connected those in need to those who wanted to help.  Coincidence?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  

As I continued to get to know Pete I slowly but surely unpacked his life story.  As I gained his trust he would tell me more and more about the heartache he has endured throughout his life i.e losing his brother to suicide and being the one who found him with the gun in his hand, losing his sister to a violent murder, his strained relationship with his father, being a "highway man" for  7 of the last 8 years and many other sad situations he's dealt with in his time.  But in spite of all this Pete is not bitter, he is full of love and wants to help others.  He reminds me of the following quote " if you have been brutally broken but still have the courage to be gentle to other living beings, Than you're a badass with a heart of an angel. - Keanu Reeves.   That's our friend Pete.

Pete has his good days and his bad days but suicide is a constant subject we discuss.  He often is at "the end of his rope" but after our phone calls he seems to climb back up said rope, or at least it appears that way. 

We meet weekly for lunch and recently I told him I was thinking of putting together a go fund me for him.  I asked if we were able to raise money for him, what  would he want to do with it.  Pete stated he wanted to get back on his feet so he would be able to help others in his situation. He also stated he doesn't think he can mentally or physical do another cold winter in the Midwest.   Lately he has been staying at his brothers trailer at a campsite that is not in great shape i.e mice, no running water, leaky roof etc which isn't ideal but much better than the alternative.  I mentioned to him what if we use the money to get you a new camper/trailer, would you see the value in that?  His eyes lit up and he went on and on about how helpful that would be. 

I sat there thinking to myself here is a man who has nothing and when asked what he would do with the money his answer was help others.  He didn't even think of how he could improve his life, I had to bring it up to him.  

Our food came, Pete enjoys the omelettes at Denny's very much so.  We started dreaming and I asked him what he would do if our campaign went viral and he stated he would like me to help him create a non profit called COTS.  I figured their was a prison connotation (3 hots and cot) and I was partially right however he went on to tell me COTS stands for church on the street.   His passion is to hit the streets and preach the good news to others in his situation.  I thought that was pretty neat.  He truly is a modern day fisher of men.

We determined if we were so fortunate to have this go viral we would do our best to buy some land and build tiny home shelters for those who could use a hand.  We would mentor and preach to those who wanted to listen.  Those who wanted to get back to the life you and I live, we would help them do that.  Those who did not want to would still be part of our program.  We would also help kids gain confidence during "Back to school time" as well as brighten the Christmas/Holiday season for those in need, easy lifts.  

After working with many homeless I have found they don't always want what you and I want.  And at first that turned me off but as I thought about it more and more I realized I was judging them because they didn't think the same way I did.  There is so much we don't know that leads our brothers and sister to the highway i.e abuse, mental health issues, etc etc and I learned quickly not to judge or make assumptions. 

So, here is the ask.  Jump in...  " it's not living if you are standing outside the FIRE (GB) If you could, please invest in our friend Pete to help get him "back on his feet" so he can help others.  If you can't afford to help us financially please share this message for all to see, no amount is too small.   

Also, please join our FB page "Friends of Pete" so you can watch live in living color Pete making the world a better place.  We have videos up on our fb page Friends of Pete telling his story.  If you have time its moving, check it out.

The plan is to get Pete his own camper/trailer and ensure he won't be cold this winter and if there is anything left we commit to everyone who is part of this journey full disclosure (we will account for and provide documentation of every dollar spent on our FB page.)  You can also check out my fb page Bradley Nerem to view  more info around why we want to help Pete.

Lastly I just want to remind everyone how blessed most of us are.  In fact the vast majority of us are living better than the richest man in the world did just a generation or 2 ago whether it's the comfort of our beds, the convenience of water in our home, indoor bathrooms, refrigerators, ice machines, the comfort of our vehicles, having all the info in the world at the tip of our fingers, the list goes on.  Many of us take these things for granted, I know I do more often than i'd like to admit.  With that in mind, please make some shelf space for our American Brothers and Sisters in need.  God Bless you all and thank you for your consideration.

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Bradley Nerem 
Huntley, IL
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