Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What is the Big Deal?

NEOCH had the First Golden Voice

I just don't understand the big fuss over Ted Williams, the freeway exit panhandler from Columbus with the golden voice. The story is everywhere from sports websites because the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered him a job, all the major newspapers, and viral video sites. It seems he has a wonderful voice, and became homeless after struggling with sobriety. He was then captured on video using his voice to panhandle. A Columbus Dispatch reporter took a video of Mr. Williams that went viral within 24 hours. Yes, the guy has an amazing voice talent, but what is the big deal? There are so many talented people sleeping over at 2100 Lakeside having their skills going to waste. We have seen amazing photographers sleeping at the shelter (half of the photos on our website are by homeless people). That opening montage of pictures are all by a guy sleeping at Lakeside. We had an art show in the late 1990s and received over 100 pieces of art from homeless people with some amazing work submitted.

This is great for Mr. Williams, and everyone working with homeless people is excited to see someone skyrocket out of homelessness, but there are so many amazing people sleeping in the shelters every night. There are artists, craftsmen, great plumbers, great cooks, photographers, carpenters, writers who are wasting their talent just trying to survive. This is the great tragedy of our society that great thinkers, accountants, computer scientists are focused on trying to find a place to live instead of working to make the world a better place. They are not trying to find a more efficient way to feed America or a new way to educate young people, they are trying to figure out how to get a meal for the night. There are young Billie Holidays, Nathaniel Ayers, Picassos, and JD Salingers sleeping in our shelters tonight in Cleveland depriving us of their amazing art.

From a personal perspective, we are offended at NEOCH, because we had the Golden Voice working for the Coalition long before Ted Williams was discovered. William Gilmore, pictured above, has answered phones for NEOCH for the past two years. He has done voice over work in the past. We are one of the few agencies that still has a human answering the phone, and William is our guy in the afternoon. He has been referred to as the Golden Voice of the homeless for years. We missed our opportunity to make him famous on You Tube.

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