Saturday, February 28, 2009

We Mourn the Loss of An Advocate

NEOCH Will Miss David Westcott

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board and Staff are deeply saddened to learn of the death of our beloved treasurer David Westcott on Friday February 27, 2009. Funeral services will be announced in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday. David served on the NEOCH Board for eleven years. He came to the organization in the early 1990s as a true advocate for homeless people. He pushed the agency to rise above every barrier to focus our attention on an end to homelessness. David was always frustrated with the pace of change in this community, and wanted to see religious, government and social service organizations come together to reduce the number of people sleeping in shelters. He was a real asset to NEOCH by improving our systems and operations and guiding us through rough years after September 11 and the beginning of this latest recession in 2007. As treasurer, he set up a wonderful system of checks and balances, and can boast a solid history of clean audits.

Westcott was a former production manager in Milwaukee as well as a Periodical Product Manager for Concordia Publishing of St. Louis. He was a former Army officer in World War II and Korea. Westcott served as Executive Director of the Lutheran Council of Cleveland and as a social worker at WESM. He volunteered with Brookside Family Neighborhood Center, International Partners in Mission (IPM), and the ACLU. He was proudest of his work as a Board member of IPM building a solid organization that reaches out a hand in peace and in the model of the teachings of Christ to lift up disenfranchised populations in El Salvador, Beruit, and India. He was the 2002 Homeless Advocate of the Year as selected by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. David came into the agency every Thursday to sign checks or take a deposit to the bank or just to see if we were all working. Thursdays will not be the same at NEOCH for a long time.



CynDe said...

I am in shock and greatly saddened by the loss of a great humanitarian that was Dave Westcott.

Teri Horne said...

I will truly miss Dave, who was always there to make me smile. He is the reason I love banana nut bread because he brought it to the VISTA in 2002 almost every month. He always supported all of NEOCH's functions and yes to make sure "we were working and Brian wasn't giving me a hard time". He was always there to give me a hand and I enjoyed our chats every Thursday! I admired his passion and energy and I hope I have half of his energy at that age. I'll miss you Dave!

-Teri Horne

Sarah [soja] said...

I'm sorry to hear this. Dave was always so kind and friendly to everyone--something I really appreciated as a VISTA. He will be missed.

-Sarah Valek-

Mike P. said...

Working next door to NEOCH, I'd come to know Dave as a wonderful, caring, passionate advocate who put politics aside and truly focused on the only thing that mattered....people. Dave will be missed not only by advocates for the homeless, but all of us in the social justice field.

CVMSummit said...

I am really going to miss Dave. He always reached out his hand and always had a smile. This is a huge loss to the community. Dave fought for fair treatment of all human beings. Dave sat on the advisory board for Community Voice Mail and was extremely helpful in providing me with guidance and support. My prayers are with Gloria and the family.