Homelessness truly touches us all. This is Chris’ Story.
“If it wasn’t for the Lookout Society my brother would have been lost forever.”Chris Thornley, President of Thornley Creative Communications, Community Leader & Surrey Civic Treausure
Funny how you can be raised in the same family with the same parents and the same values yet turn out so differently.
My younger brother Peter was a sweet soul, practically without guile trusting and easily influenced. He left home when he was 15. Spent the next 20+ years in and out of homelessness, sometimes living on the streets. More often then not, involved in drugs, alcohol and petty theft. Working. Not working. Scuffling.
We kept the door open as best we could, and he would show up on our doorstep every once in a while, get cleaned up and then move on.
Then one day he walked into the Lookout Emergency Aid Society. Wonder of wonders he managed to get a job in the kitchen. They took him in, they saw something in him that others didn’t see. They saw that he could connect with their constituents. They arranged for some formal training and moved him to the front desk assisting in managing the clients. I remember the day he called me to tell me the news: “Guess what Chris? For the first time in my life I’ve got a real job!”. The change in him was really something, he started a family with his long term, on and off girlfriend (a few years later I had the privilege of being the best man at their wedding). Peter took enormous pride in his job at the Lookout. He came back to our family. He found himself. Got married. Raised a daughter…it’s probably my imagination, but in my mind my brother Peter (he never really liked being called Pete) grew to be ten feet tall thanks to the Lookout.
Tragically his past came back to haunt him. Somewhere along the way he contracted Hepatitis C which manifested itself as liver cancer. We became incredibly close in those last few months and quite frankly I miss him everyday.
I’m very grateful to organizations like the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society. This organization collects and distributes funds to support worthwhile organizations like the Lookout Emergency Aid Society.
This years slogan “Give so we can Give” makes a lot of sense to me.