Photo: Graham Newhall

Lou has been working as a street cleaner on Westminster Street for about four years, pushing a distinctive yellow cart.

“I do this in the mornings, and then at night I’m a drug and alcohol counsellor. I’ve been working there for about twenty years. It keeps me going.”

He works at a halfway house on the West Side, where young men with addictive dependencies go to try and rebuild their lives. Some are sent there by the courts, others end up there through interventions by family or friends.

“In the house is 22 guys, so you have 22 personalities, that’s what you got to deal with.

“You have to, not judge, but figure out what kinds of problems they have. You come to me, and we’ll talk about what you’re going through and what you can’t kick. I have to sit and let you talk, and then I can pinpoint what’s what. I’m not saying I’m Mr Perfect because no-one is, but if you were to sit down with me, I could point some things out.

“Myself, you, me, we have to be leaders. If we’re not leaders, they got no-one to look up to. Let’s reach out and help somebody, get somebody’s hand, tell someone you love them.

“I’ve been clean for twenty years now, I love helping people, reaching out to them.

“Some fall and don’t make it back. That’s the sad part.”

2 Responses

  1. God Bless you Lou!! It is so powerful when people overcome their past and then use their experience to loft up others in a similar battle. We need more people willing to look back after they have made it to help up their fallen brothers and sisters!

  2. have no idea how I end up reading this (you gotta love the internet) but let me just thank you sir for spending your time helping others. Your thoughts on leadership makes total sense to me as when I look up to my country leaders (Spain) I feel nothing but despair and anger. Keep up the good work and If you ever come to Barcelona I’ll be delighted to have a chat and maybe you can point some things out for/about me :)

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