On this #GivingTuesday, we at The Open Shelter turn to thoughts of someone who truly gave of himself; our Director Emeritus, Kent R. Beittel, who passed away on October 16th. Kent’s energy, passion, love and commitment were never in question as he strived to help “his people”. The disenfranchised. The homeless. The marginally housed. The most vulnerable. They are never “clients” when they come to us. They are our guests. They are our friends. We are here to serve them.
At our meals, Kent made sure everyone ate before he would even think of getting a plate. Kent always put others before himself. No judgement, No preconceptions. No restrictions. Just make sure everyone and anyone who needed help received it. “Most of us don’t fit into society — at all,” said William “Critter” Roberts, an Open Shelter regular who spent 12 years living in a tent. “If we walk into a business, somebody will judge us, quickly. And they could be wrong. Kent doesn’t judge. His heart is to help everyone he can.” Roberts is in an apartment now. A major reason for that is Kent didn’t give up on him. Kent built up trust with “Critter”.
Kent was always firm but fair. One think Kent always stressed was calm. Calm was his favorite thing. Keep things as calm as possible. Be firm. Be fair. Be consistent. But always maintain calm. If those we serve learn to trust us, we in turn can trust them. Trust them to maintain the calm even during those times where there may be fifty different people asking for fifty different things.
Even while Kent battled cancer, he still strived to be at the agency every day. To make sure he was there to share his wisdom and experiences with others. To make sure he was there for those we serve. To keep their trust.
And yes, even to make his presence known if the rare occurrence of someone getting out of hand did happen.
Kent is now lovingly reunited with his wife Mary. They both strived on a daily basis to make sure that those we serve were fed, clothed, sheltered and eventually back on their feet. The Open Shelter has been in existence for nearly 40 years and assisted tens of thousands thanks to your support and Kent & Mary’s commitment.
We ask that you continue that legacy by giving a donation for those we serve on this #GivingTuesday HERE- https://theopenshelter.org/donate/
We are very thankful for your support and wish you all the best during this Holiday Season.