In our last blog, we described ways to help unfortunate people in your community who are homeless. Now we turn our attention to some stories of people & organizations who have done great work helping the homeless.
David & Peggy Gilmour
“We’d like you to be the Honorary Chairman of our campaign to house the homeless.” is how retired cardiologist David Gilmour recalls his first “official” involvement with the homeless in his hometown of Nashua, NH. He’d seen up front the problems of the homeless during his seven years at Boston City Hospital. Also, David and Peggy, his wife, visited depraved mud villages of Honduras as medical missionaries. Honduras is considered the second poorest nation in Central America.
The year was 2013 and the campaign’s goal was to raise $100,000, a sizeable goal for the community’s first attempt. David accepted the challenge and proceeded to identify prospects, and persuade them to attend the Kick-off meeting. “Many of them had no experience with the homeless and were not even aware of Harbor Homes, the community’s large and successful organization charged with solving the homeless problem.”
The kick-off meeting was in January, 2014. They raised $100,000 in a much shorter time than they anticipated and decided to double the goal to $200,000. David has stayed involved, and another goal of $200,000 was set and attained in 2015. The federal government matched the local dollars 3 to 1, increasing the amount to house the homeless to over $800,000 each year.
Peggy is a former two-term NH State Senator currently running for re-election She has been involved in many Nashua programs for the disadvantaged, including Keystone Hall, Gateway, and the drug court. She helped bring Hospice to the Nashua area and was CEO of Home Health and Hospice Care for many years.
David is no stranger to the problems of the poor and disadvantaged. For 14 years, every Thursday morning from 9:30 to 12:30 he’s delivered meals to shut-ins as a volunteer in the Meals on Wheels program. He maintains, “If you want to help people who are elderly, disabled, or poor, you’ve got to get out and rub shoulders with them.”
Harbor Homes of Nashua, NH recently announced it will name its new 11 room Respite Care facility the “Peggy and David Gilmour Medical Respite Center.” Among the purposes of the facility are to offer medical services to homeless people who are just leaving a hospital and also to those preparing to be admitted to a hospital.
Currently, David, Elaine Thomas and Julie Beck Goss have formed a team to put on education forums about homelessness. The first was a great success and the next forum, scheduled for Sept. 21, will focus on the opioid crisis.
Asked what his major satisfaction is regarding the homeless, the retired cardiologist said, “Learning and then believing that we citizens of the US really can solve the homeless problem in our individual communities.”