Death of homeless man should have been noted at annual gathering

December 18, 2018

The Annual Leaders Luncheon held this year on Dec. 7, with a record seating of 400, is greater Danbury’s movers and shakers ground zero. Mayor Mark Boughton in The State of the City address applauded the collective successes and achievements of regional leadership, and the city and state government’s collaboration in raising our quality of life. Satisfied with our progress and hopeful for the future, the leadership community felt at one with the often-quote words of the recently departed President Bush:

“My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it.”

David Mullen may have felt marginalized, forgotten, or even irrelevant if he were alive and able to be among the 400 nodding in agreement with our impressive progress. On Dec. 7th the fresh and painful memory of Mullen’s death on Dec. 1st. was redacted from the year in review. Rather than omitted, I wish it were the lead story.

I think a sad quiet would have settled over the crowd if we publicly remembered David. We all would have felt deeply disappointed that we tried but still failed to help him for we know we are fortunate to live in this community where people respond generously to their neighbors. Omitting mention of a homeless man’s tragic demise was truly a missed opportunity.

Perhaps we can do more than hope David Mullen’s death, as the mayor commented in The News-Times, “sheds light on the difficulties of the working people who suddenly find themselves without safe shelter.” In leading with his story, perhaps beyond hope, a challenge to resolve may have emerged and an attempt to solve what now seems beyond solution.

Philip Petroksy

New Fairfield

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