This October we are proud to feature Jeffrey Bingham who has worked at the Prince George’s House Men’s Shelter House for 6 years. He began work there in 2014 as a resident counselor and then worked himself up the ladder to the position of program director. We are so proud to honor him for his life’s work as he changed the trajectory of the lives of so many of our clients who walked through the doors of the shelter. In many cases he saved lives because many individuals would have never found housing without his help. Although Mr. Bingham has since moved on from working at the Prince George’s House Men’s Shelter, his huge impact on the many lives he changed forever will remain on the men he helped.
Our organization first met Mr. Bingham many years ago when we had a client who ended up in the 37-bed shelter. The men in this shelter come from many situations that have contributed to their state of homelessness. Therefore, they are very frequently feeling a sense of hopelessness and despair when they first walk through the shelter doors. Often this shelter is considered the “Last Stop”. The Prince George’s House Men’s Shelter’s physical structure can be described as somewhat small, simple, and non-descript with numerous bunk beds. But the atmosphere that pervades inside the shelter is big, multifaceted, and frankly astonishing. All due to the kind heart of Mr. Bingham,
Mr. Bingham cared for each of the residents as if they were a family member. His charismatic personality overflowed with warmth, empathy, genuine caring and kindness. He gave respect to each of the men and helped to restore their dignity and sense of self-worth. But most of all he gave hope as each of the men were on different paths to find housing and work. Mr. Bingham’s kind personality and smile made him very approachable. The men felt comfortable to talk with him and share the truth. His quick wit and sharp interpersonal skills were a gift because he was able to analyze personalities and the men’s needs. If you picture 37 men in a small space for long periods of time, you can imagine the issues that arise.
His innate skill set enabled him to quickly diffuse and de-escalate anger that naturally occurs in close quarters. He had such intuition that he could set the stage to prevent issues from coming up between the residents. He would put a heavy snorer back in the corner bunk bed. He separated them from the light sleepers. The list goes on. On the rare occasion when a resident had to leave the shelter — as sad as it was — they were fortunate because Mr. Bingham provided them with other resources to tap into for assistance outside the shelter environment.
Mr. Bingham was very smart because he surrounded himself with like-minded people to staff the shelter. He hand-picked the shelter staff based on their gifts to work with each other and with the men. This is another reason why the Prince George’s House Men’s Shelter is so special and unique. Like the work of a skilled carpenter, Mr. Bingham put together the pieces of this and that to build a model shelter. Mr. Bingham you are one of a kind and we are so grateful for all that you did to move our clients forward. You will be sorely missed but your legacy and changes you made to the shelter will live on to help those in need!
Patrons for Peace Project occasionally has a need for investigative services to help clients. We were extremely fortunate several years ago to have stumbled upon The Premiere Group. These investigative professionals are a husband and wife team who truly get the job done. They each possess an amazing skill set and complement each other in this incredibly difficult job. This professional team has assisted with numerous situations that have helped our clients attain a life with dignity.
One situation The Premiere Group assisted with involved a homeless man who was extremely ill with metastatic cancer. He was barely able to walk and was living behind a dumpster in Laurel. He was admitted to the hospital and there he showed us a crumpled, worn-out photo of two little children. He had carried it around for two decades. He had not had contact with his children for years. His dying request was to see his children. The Premiere Group was able to assist with finding one of the children. We took the lead and got in-touch with a daughter who in turn reached out to her siblings. The children were able to have a bittersweet reunion to say goodbye.
One other situation involved a man who was very paranoid. Patrons for Peace Project was trying to help him get Social Security Disability. He had continued to be denied due to a lack of evidence proving his paranoia existed. This illness needed to be documented in numerous situations, so it was truly believable to the doctors who decide. This man believed he was being watched in his apartment through different key holes and light fixtures. He also believed listening devices had been planted in the apartment. With the man’s permission, we hired The Premiere Group and they came to the apartment. The detective combed through the entire apartment showing the man each fixture, sometimes unscrewing, and removing overhead lights proving that no listening devices were present. The detective was so incredibly kind explaining everything he did each step of the way. When he was finished, we received a report explaining what he did and what he found. (Patrons for Peace Project was present during the investigation.) This was used as part of the man’s portfolio for his case. He ultimately won his disability.
We cannot talk about everything that The Premier Group has done for our clients, but I will tell you that the help they have provided has at times made the difference between life and death. We are so grateful for their quick responses, trustworthiness, dependability, and their incredible ability to think creatively. Thank you, The Premier Group. You change lives!
The multi-talented Bob Reilly has assisted with driving for Patrons for Peace Project for many years and this is no easy task. He is called upon frequently for emergencies to transport clients to many destinations. Some of these destinations are out of state. Situations that arise often need immediate attention or an opportunity to help someone may be lost. One homeless man decided in January that he finally wanted to detox from alcohol. The problem was that no treatment center in the State of Maryland would accept his Medicare. A treatment center in Ohio took his insurance, so Bob drove him there. He ended up driving through snow on a mountain to reach the destination. Another time Bob picked up a woman and her therapy dog in the middle of the night (His wife came with him on this trip) to get her on a Greyhound bus away from her abusive boyfriend. She had been beaten and was fleeing to a relative’s house in another state.
Bob’s personality is such that he is very in tune with a person’s mood, anxiety, and fear. He has an innate ability to instantly connect with the client he is transporting and has been known to stop on the way (If necessary) for fast food or a soft drink to help soothe the client. He has taken people to the hospital, to court, picked them up from jail, moved them from unsafe living situations, transported them to medical appointments and the list goes on. A disabled man who Patrons for Peace Project helped for a few years came clean about his past. He admitted that he had a warrant in South Carolina, and he had fled the area and came to Maryland. We took him to the police (at his request) so he could turn himself in, but his crime was not extraditable. Bob was called and drove him to South Carolina so he could turn himself in there to face his crime. He also helped to find his family and there was a sweet reunion. (The client’s family thought he was deceased.) Bob recently was called to help with a dangerous and volatile situation where police back-up was needed. Diving right in, he quickly helped to move the client and his belongings to safety.
There are many things that Bob does for Patrons for Peace that confidentiality rules prevent us from telling you about. But we can tell you that Bob is worldly, enthusiastic, upbeat and can talk with the clients on an array of topics during the transport. Some of the clients find out he is a talented musician and music becomes the topic. Other clients report they have been grateful that he has prayed with them as they face a difficult situation. Bob is an outstanding client advocate on so many levels. Bob you are so appreciated, and we could not engage in the kind of work we do without you.
This July, Patrons for Peace Project features Kathy Barron, a psychiatric nurse who has worked for QCI Behavioral Health in Upper Marlboro for the past 15 years. Kathy has helped our organization with clients we are trying to stabilize once we refer them to QCI. She works tirelessly as part of a psychiatric mobile behavioral team helping to manage her client’s needs by coming to them. One of the many geographical areas she covers is Laurel.
Kathy’s communication skills are excellent, and she is empathetic – understanding the daily struggles that consumers of mental health mobile team services endure. Kathy’s clients are extremely fortunate because she displays a warm, energetic, non-judgmental, and engaging personality. The care she gives to her clients is tailored to each person’s need, not a one size fits all approach.
She meets her clients where they are most comfortable, and the locations are as diverse as she is flexible. These include but are not limited to outdoor benches, fast-food restaurants, apartments, houses, libraries, outside her car, at a worksite when a client is on lunch break and the list goes on. When she meets them usually once or twice a month, she uses her skills at assessing how they are doing and checking medication concerns and compliance. Her duties are many and often may include health education, medication education, giving injections, and taking vital signs. Although she is the nurse, she is often the person who has to coordinate care with the entire team including the psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, therapist, case manager, mobile outreach transportation team, the scheduling department, pharmacies, primary care physicians, and local hospitals when clients decompensate.
Kathy uses her critical thinking skills daily and is quick on her feet thinking ahead often helping to prevent a client from being hospitalized. She displays incredible stamina and resilience in her position as a nurse. I once referred to Kathy as the glue of the QCI Behavioral Health organization. I honestly do not think anyone knows all that she does in a job that enables her to care for a population of people that are often overlooked, ignored, and frankly mistreated. Not only does she care for them, she genuinely cares about them and continues to up-lift them day after day.
We are grateful for Kathy’s efforts and thank her so much for all that she does to help Patrons for Peace Project! We could not do our work without her. She is a big part of our success.