I have chosen this venue to pay public tribute to a true Pioneer here in Hinesville and Liberty County whose passing has gone largely unremarked due to circumstances beyond human control.
Our area lost a true Pioneer in the area of Homeless prevention and care with the passing Sunday evening of Dr. Alicia Kirk, Founder and CEO of Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless.
I personally worked with Dr. Kirk for many years and I also was a Founding Member. I well remember her coming to my home in 2005 and telling of her visionary Dream of establishing a homeless shelter in connection with a Program designed not only to provide shelter for the homeless but to give them an opportunity to turn their lives around and start over again; to complete their educational needs, find employment and any other help that was needed. At that time there were no other programs of a similar nature in the area, so her Dream needed to be realized.
Using her own financial resources along with support from others in the area, including the late Gary Dodd, and former Mayor Jim Thomas, the Dream came together in the form of two houses, one for women and one for men. Those who resided in the homes had every opportunity to regain control of their lives in a positive manner.
A part of the Dream was the opening of a thrift store to help with financial support. The residents who did not have outside employment worked in the store, known as the K&K Thrift Shop.. I also worked in the Shop, enjoying setting up displays and a book room and visiting with shoppers.
Over the years the Vision shifted to become a Program for recently paroled prisoners, giving them the same opportunities for help as the original homeless had been given.
Dr. Kirk worked tirelessly at fundraising and supporting KHC; the Humanitarian Awards Banquets meant so much to the entire Community.
Ordinarily I would be speaking these words in a funeral Service, but since that is not possible at this time, i felt that it was well for us to remember her efforts and silently mourn her passing.
Those who do remember, and were a part of Kirk Healing Center, extend to her Family our heartfelt sympathies and thanks to them for sharing her with us as a leader, prayer partner, spiritual mentor and friend.
Sincerely, Judy Shippey