Those of you who have attended Project Homeless Connect events know that Joe Ramos is somewhat of a PHC fixture. A California native, Joe has been a photographer for more than 40 years, the last 7 of which he has generously donated his photography to PHC. This week, we asked Joe to reflect on a participant who touched his life. Joe writes:
One of the things that always touches me about volunteering with PHC is being able to hear participants’ stories. During the course of taking photos, it’s not uncommon for people to open up and tell me about their lives, their hopes, their plans. At a recent event though, I took photos of a fairly quiet gentleman who didn’t say too much during our session.
After I took the photos, though, I realized he’d neglected to write down a zip code on the address where he wanted the photos mailed. When I looked online to get the zip code, I realized the address he’d given me didn’t exist. Fortunately, he left a phone number as well. When I called, I found myself speaking with a woman. It turned out she was the man’s mother, and they hadn’t seen each other in several years. His intention was to have the photos mailed to her but had gotten the address wrong by one number.
While it’s not uncommon for participants to request their photos be mailed to family members they haven’t seen in awhile, stories like these affect me deeply and I’m grateful to be able to help.
His mother verified the correct address and spoke to me about her son, asking how he looked and if he was alright. There was a deep worry and sadness in her voice, and I tried to comfort her, telling her he looked alright. It moved me be able to connect them, in some capacity, through the photos I’d taken. While it’s not uncommon for participants to request their photos be mailed to family members they haven’t seen in awhile, stories like these affect me deeply and I’m grateful to be able to help.