Last week in Montreal, as well as over most of the Eastern Seaboard, saw temperatures rise to new record levels. as of this evening, we know of 70 people in the Province of Quebec, died due to factors including age, underlying medical conditions, and reactions to severe heat conditions. 34 of those deaths were here in Montreal.
Sadly, we know who one of those 34 men and women were.
This afternoon, after making several calls to an institutional half way house here in Montreal, where one of our men lived, got a call back about 4 p.m. The case worker informed me that sadly, one of our men had died, in the course of a work day, being overcome by heat, in the back of a moving truck.
Temps were running in the high 40’s with humidexes in the mid to high 40’s. That combination of heat and humidity was a death knell for many.
My friend, a man of honor and dignity, spent two tours in Afghanistan working for American Armed Forces. Found himself on the wrong side of the law, after being discharged, finding himself in prison. He served his time and was released a few months ago.
He arrived in Montreal and was housed in an institutional halfway house not far from my home. I met him in one of our Thursday night meetings. At least, at first, I learned his name. Soon after we got him a free ticket to the West Island Roundup, where I took him into my circle, and provided for his weekend. Many people reached out to him over the past few months.
Myself and one of my friends, stepped up to sponsor him in recovery, he having gotten sober behind the walls, came out with 3 years and change, and had he made it, would have celebrated 4 years sober in November. He went to great detail at the roundup to buy himself a special limited edition chip, that we were holding for him, until he got to where he was going.
The first day of the Round Up, he showed me what he carried with him, photos of him and his team, while in Afghanistan. He carried those photos proudly, as a badge of honor and courage. I wanted to do right by him, because he deserved that honor for serving his country so proudly in a place that was seriously dangerous.
I tried very hard to honor his work and his dignity as a fellow-man on the road with us.
I was shocked beyond words today hearing that he had died.
P.T.S.D. is wicked and harsh.
Our man suffered a great many things. He was having a hard time at it, living in a house where drug and alcohol abuse was rife, he would tell me over and over. He flirted with a second incarceration, having lost his cool at the house a couple of weeks ago. He eventually got a talking to by the administrators and was allowed to stay on at the house.
I had brought him into my home, setting up his new I-Phone with music and very soon he really wanted high-end, ringtones. That was his passion, his time in the Armed Services. He had been over several times and we were getting to know each other.
This past week, he had dropped off the radar, and went M.I.A. (Missing in Action).
I worried for him and was not going to let it go until I figured out where he had disappeared to. This past Saturday I called the rooming house and inquired about his case worker and my friends where about. I was told that case workers don’t work on weekends and that I would have to wait until today to speak to him.
I got up early this morning, after hurried texts with the other member working with our man, and made the call to the house and left a message, that was replied about 4 p.m. this afternoon.
The only thought I was entertaining was that my guy had been re-incarcerated, because that was the thought I was entertaining. I had no idea or inkling that he had passed away, I mean, how often do we, ourselves, when someone so young disappears, say to ourselves, “Well they might be dead.”
Right now we know he was clean and sober. That he died working in a moving truck in Plus 40 temps, during a heat wave. Tonight, after the meeting, I was chairing, one of my friends called to inquire how I knew what I knew and what further I could tell him, which was not much.
Contacting the next of kin would have fallen to the discretion of the house and his case worker.
Eternal Rest Grant Him and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.