Memorial vigil for Jeffrey Bouck, 46

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    WHEEL/Church of Mary Magdalene Women in Black will stand vigil next Wednesday, February 12th from noon to 1 PM outside the Justice Center at 5th and Cherry for Jeffrey Parker Bouck, 46, who died of undetermined cause under the Ballard Bridge [February 4th]. Jeff was a lifelong Seattleite and a beloved Real Change vendor. He was Vendor of the Month in 2009, and a link to his very touching vendor biography is here:

    “There but for the grace of God go I,” his dad used to say.

    For nearly every time they drove underneath the Ballard Bridge, an adolescent Jeff would see homeless people from the car window and turn to his father for an explanation.

    “He was letting me know that you’re always that close to being right there,” Jeff says.

    Jeff grew up in Seattle on Queen Anne Hill. The son of a sea captain, he’s been working on fishing boats the entirety of his adult years. Until the accident, that is: While purse seining salmon in Sandpoint, Alaska, Jeff took a fall that changed his life.

    “I fell overboard into the net, cracked my back on the side rail, and then was fished out of the net,” he tells me, “I herniated two discs in my back.”

    It took nearly a year to recover from the accident. And with an injured back, hauling nets was out of the question. It was the end of his fishing career.

    At 41, Jeff—functionally disabled and out of a job—became homeless for the first time in his life. A friend and longtime vendor told him about Real Change, so he decided to give it a try.

    “I had a hard time asking anybody for money,” Jeff explains, “So this worked out for me because it’s like a business.”

    And like any successful businessman, Jeff relies on the continued support of his loyal customers to stay afloat. Not to mention the generous management and staff at stores like Trader Joe’s on Queen Anne, where he frequently sells the paper.

    “They’re very good people,” he says earnestly, “I appreciate their business.”



    Thanks for posting this, NW.



    Hopefully this will change some people’s perspective about “choosing” lifestyles. Sometimes awful things happen, and people go homeless due to circumstances beyond their control. In a society that let people fall through the cracks, like the USA.



    Nora Bell

    Agreed, Midwest. We are all just one paycheck away, or one bad moment away, from being those homeless folk that people here complain about. Rest in Peace, Jeffrey Parker Bouck.
    Thank you for posting this, NWcitizen.



    I totally agree with you Midwest and Nora Bell.
    There are circumstances that people find themselves suddenly homeless, etc, catastrophic illness medical bills, losing job, and such.



    He died of exposure under the ballard bridge. How sad is that…

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