|Armed Forces Park, Hanover Township|
The County calls them "consumers," but they're people. One of them lives next door to me. A little slow, he's unable to drive. But he walks the 6 miles to and from his job at Burger King nearly every day at this time of year, and at all hours, along Route 248. That's the very busy, and pedestrian-unfriendly, Nazareth-Easton highway.
He's the product of a broken family and has been in and out of the system his entire life.
For him, a luxury is a bicycle. Sharon and Ron Angle, who do not know this guy at all, gave me a bike to give to him last year. When the weather is nice, I can see him tooling along 248, with a big smile on his face.
He and his wife, who is also a little slow and unemployed, go to church twice every week. They pay their rent on time.
This fellow and many like him have no one to speak for them at County Council meetings, when the idea of a centralized human services building is being discussed. So it's easy to bash the very idea of caring for our fellow man, as Council member Lamont McClure and Controller Steve Barron have in effect done. mcClure saw Gracedale as a "moral obligation," but is not all that enthusastic bout poor seniors who are trying to service without going into a nursing home.
It's one thing to bash those with no voice. But they are also bashing 24,000 Northampton County veterans.
Between 25-35 veterans visit the Veterans Administration weekly at the Governor Wold Building. That's between 1,300 and 1,820 per year. According to Executive John Stoffa, "Unfortunately, many of them have to chug up that hill to get into the building. With the security, we lock the back, there's no parking in front, and they're all ages. Some come in in wheelchairs, some in oxygen."
For people who put their lives on the line for us, this is a lousy way to say thank you.
Now I realize that one member of Council would like to keep things in Easton because that's his district. Another member of Council would like it in Nazareth because that's where she gets her votes. And McClure and Barron just want to stick it to Stoffa. Unlike Stoffa, they never spent a day in the military.
If we can't do the right thing for those who have no voice, can't we at least take care of our veterans? They took care of us.