September 11, 2009

Homeless man wins many hearts

College students in North Carolina say they're seeking shelter for a homeless man who recited poems and told stories and never asked for anything in return.

The man with scraggly dreadlocks, who known only as Joshua, is well known at Appalachian State University and in the surrounding town of Boone, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer reported. It is also well known he is at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem for an undisclosed medical condition, after collapsing in downtown Boone, the newspaper said Thursday.

I hugged Joshua; I didn't care how many days it had been since he'd taken a bath, said Kristen Deese, 26, an ASU student who sees him as a father figure and friend. He's honest and kind to everyone, and so intelligent.

A Facebook campaign with 14,300 members from the school and the town, a YouTube video and a Web site honoring Joshua are focused on finding a place for him to live in Boone, his home town. His campsite was ransacked during his absence.

Deese says Joshua perked up as soon as he saw her walk into his hospital room. Police and hospital officials are trying to locate Joshua's family and Deese said she is praying his next of kin will turn up.

Otherwise, he becomes a ward of the state, the newspaper said.

You know, most of us might not live the life he did, or want to, Deese said. But he is who he is and he lived the life that he wanted. And he was happy. You don't find that very often.