Chuck Bloom: Lynn Sipiora for Texan of the Year

sourced from: The Dallas Morning News

Posted by Marc A. Sparks in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX on Dec 04, 2008

03:06 PM CST on Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She has never thrown the winning touchdown pass to capture the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl or Super Bowl, nor has she won a Grammy or political office. All she has done is … change the world, at least for some people in need in Collin County.

As executive director of the Samaritan Inn, the county’s only homeless shelter, Lynne Sipiora marshals the task of providing food, shelter, counseling and the possibility of a better future to folks many would rather forget. And on April 9, she fulfilled the goal of opening Gateway Apartments in McKinney, the county’s first transitional housing unit for homeless people.

For that achievement, she deserves this nomination for the 2008 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.

Think for one moment what Gateway represents to its residents: For the first time in ages, 20 families (and more in the future) can re-emerge into society as functional, productive citizens with a regained sense of dignity after so much pain and loss. Without Lynne’s initiative and oversight, it would never have become a reality.

She hoisted this challenge on her shoulders and willed Gateway’s completion, doing it without one red cent from the government. She found the perfect silent partner in Dallas philanthropist Marc Sparks, who entirely funded the construction and property purchase; got the builders, Darling Bros., to work at cost; and convinced numerous businesses, churches, social groups and individuals to sponsor aspects of the everyday Gateway regimen.

Lynne’s daily task at the Inn is difficult enough; each resident has a sad story behind their predicament. There is the added heartbreak of turning away others (including families with children) due to lack of space and resources. This work can crush most normal spirits and souls, but she always prevails.

Add to this Lynne’s backbreaking schedule of meetings, speeches and fundraising activities – as well as the role of mother and wife, at which she also excels.

“Sometimes it’s pretty overwhelming, but I love my job; it is my passion,” she once wrote me. Her work earned her the 2007 Executive Director of the Year award from the Texas Homeless Network – and that was before Gateway opened.

Lynne now has her sights focused on the next logical step – more beds, plus a homeless children’s day care center. Only a foolish person would bet against her.

Most people know there is no definitive face of “the homeless.” They come from all cross-sections of society. Too often, they are mirror images of ourselves – people who worked hard, followed the rules and searched for the American dream.

However, a stumble here, an illness there, or a divorce that leaves one former spouse without means … and things get out of control. The problem in these rough economic times is only becoming more acute, and the services of the Samaritan Inn will be needed more than ever.

If, for whatever reason fate decides, should it be you or I who faces such tribulations, and you need that dreaded four-letter word “help,” the person you need at your side is Lynne Sipiora – to change your world.

For more about the Samaritan Inn, or to donate or volunteer, go to thesamaritaninn.org.

Chuck Bloom, a volunteer at the Samaritan Inn, is a former columnist-editor for several North Texas newspapers. He can be reached at chuckbloom@hotmail.com or through his Web site, chuckbloom.blogspot.com.

Marc Sparks article: Made in the USA – spoiled brats by Craig R. Smith

Sometimes you read an article that puts everything into perspective. I recently found this article by Craig R. Smith and found it to be truly profound and accurate. Marc

By Craig R. Smith © 2008

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The same magazine that employs Michael (Qurans in the toilets at Gitmo) Isikoff. Here I promised myself this week I would be nice and I start off in this way. Oh what a mean man I am.

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain’t happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ”What we are so unhappy about?”

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved. Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home, you may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of having a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes; an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don’t have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn’t have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ”general” discharge, an ”other than honorable” discharge or, worst case scenario, a ”dishonorable” discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells. Just ask why they are going to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn’t kill his wife but if he did … insane!

Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

I close with one of my favorite quotes from B.C. Forbes in 1953:

”What have Americans to be thankful for? More than any other people on the earth, we enjoy complete religious freedom, political freedom, social freedom. Our liberties are sacredly safeguarded by the Constitution of the United States, ‘the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.’ Yes, we Americans of today have been bequeathed a noble heritage. Let us pray that we may hand it down unsullied to our children and theirs.”

I suggest this Thanksgiving we sit back and count our blessings for all we have. If we don’t, what we have will be taken away. Then we will have to explain to future generations why we squandered such blessing and abundance. If we are not careful this generation will be known as the ”greediest and most ungrateful generation.” A far cry from the proud Americans of the ”greatest generation” who left us an untarnished legacy.

This article was sourced from:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53028

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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