Fred & Shannon

fredshannonFred met Shannon 10 years ago on the front step of their apartment building.  Little did they know that this would be the beginning of a life of love together.

Fred saw Shannon and was instantly smitten and mustered up the courage to approach her while she and another gentleman were talking.  Soon the other gentleman got the hint and left and their story began.

Theirs was a love so strong that it held them together through hardships and pain, personal loss and family tragedy.

The topping on this cake of life’s adversity which included death in the family, Shannon’s injury and hospitalization was their eviction from their home where they were left with nothing.

Shannon was forced to stay at Shepherds of Good Hope Outreach for Women. At first, frightened by the other women who had suffered tragedies of their own and would lash out against each other in unexpected outbursts Shannon stayed by herself.

Fred remembers crying when he stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope Men’s Emergency Shelter.  He was lonely for Shannon and felt at the end of his rope.  He thought that he had indeed hit bottom.

For five and a half weeks both lovers were forced to be parted from each other in the shelter.  Fred had secured a little money from odd jobs to deposit on first and last month’s rent and was heartbroken when it was stolen.  He had to start all over again.

All was not lost.  Both Fred and Shannon found the intake staff at Shepherds of Good Hope helpful, compassionate and understanding.  In time and with their help Shannon and Fred were ready to secure more permanent housing. But they had nothing – just the clothes on their backs.

Once again, with the help of Shepherds of Good Hope Support Services staff they were able to move into their new apartment complete with donated furniture, dishes, groceries, clothing, linens, and towels. It gave them a starting place.  Shannon, said that even the toilet tissue was donated from Shepherds of Good Hope.

Now that Shannon and Fred were stable, Shannon started to volunteer at Centre 454 – a drop in centre for the underprivileged and Fred made plans to enter Janitorial School.

It was their dream however to get married.

But how…weddings can be expensive and where do you start?

Shannon talked to Father Gregor, the Anglican priest at Centre 454 about her predicament.  Father Gregor vowed to try to help her achieve her dream and gave both Shannon and Fred a glowing reference letter to his Parish at St, Lukes on Somerset St.  The church agreed to allow the wedding.

What happened next are truly examples of human compassion and kindness in every form.  From the flowers made up from someone’s garden to the food and decorations provided by the members of the church, Fred and Shannon were beginning to see a community bound together for this purpose and this purpose was to help Fred and Shannon achieve their dream.

A councilor at Centre 454 gave Shannon her own wedding dress and a friend of Fred’s gave him a suit.  When Shannon went to have her hair done for the wedding she was told that someone else had taken care of the bill. One of the managers at Centre 454 even gave the bride away!

The wedding was as joyous an occasion as any wedding has ever been and the happy couple were so pleased by this outpouring of kindness that they wanted me to tell their story.  A picture speaks volumes and as you can see by this picture a community achieved a dream.

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