Kelly Wallace on 05/30/2014
Many of you have heard about the tragedy that struck The Firehouse Shelter on Wednesday morning. A car ran the red light on 3rd Avenue, hit another car, and careened onto the sidewalk where a group of men were standing after attending morning meeting. Four men were injured in the accident, three of which are still hospitalized. One gentleman, a resident of our Safe Haven program, was treated and released with a fractured foot from where the car ran over it. Two of our gentlemen are in UAB- one has successfully had orthopedic surgery, but faces facial surgery next week. This gentleman was a part of our transitional program, and had just gotten a construction job. He is in severe pain and is emotionally distraught. The other gentleman recently showed up at our emergency shelter. I am devastated to report that he is in very poor shape at the moment. He suffered broken ribs, collapsed lungs, a broken collar bone, and vascular injuries, along with a badly broken leg. He is intubated, but they are working on weaning him off the intubation. He went through surgery yesterday for his leg and collarbone. The fourth gentleman is at St. Vincent’s Hospital. He has successfully gone through surgery as his tibia was broken, but we are working on getting him charity rehabilitation. I am told he will be released on a walker.
It is important to know that only one of these four men has relatives that have come forward. With the exception of The Firehouse family, they are truly all alone whilst facing this terrible situation. These men have a long road to recovery, and we will continue to support them in every way possible. We were able to move our men around at our transitional housing site (we stay at capacity the majority of the time) so that we have an empty bottom level apartment that the men can “come home” to. We are asking the community to help retrofit the apartment so that it can be more accessible. It is important to note that Birmingham has a huge lack of accessible housing, and these men are only the most recent to face housing barriers due to lack of appropriate housing. As well, we are accepting gift card donations on behalf of the men- these gentlemen have no income and will not for the foreseeable future. If you wish to make a donation for these men, please notate it as “accident victims”.
As we move forward, I ask that you keep these men in your thoughts and prayers. These men were already facing seemingly insurmountable barriers, and I am afraid this occurrence only exacerbated it. However- The Firehouse Shelter truly has the hand of God on us. It is a miracle that there were no fatalities, and for that we are truly grateful. This week has shown me that our agency has a purpose far greater than our already lofty mission, and that purpose is to be a FAMILY… and families stick together in good times and bad. I want to thank each of you for being part of our family. It is an honor to serve alongside all of you as we work to provide a loving, supportive and stable environment for those who need it most.
Anne Darden Wright