COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A memorial service is being planned for a homeless man found dead early Sunday morning near Tent City off 2nd Avenue in Columbus.
The Celebration of Life will be hosted by people who cared for William "Billy" Edwards and developed a relationship with him through their faith-based outreach ministries.
"We are trying to bring the homeless community together with the faith-based community because we all need to grieve together," stated Farah Halford.
Her husband helped start "Group of Dudes"- a men's outreach ministry from Grace Baptist Church in Fortson, Ga. Halford and her husband formed a kinship with Billy, making sure he had the necessities of life.
The couple arrived to the scene shortly after Billy died from being hit in the back of the head with an object. They also assisted police in getting Billy's grieving dog, Sassy, away from her owner's body and are trying to find her a new home.
Through collaborative efforts with Bridge to Hope in the Valley and other resourceful organizations like Trunks of love, the homeless community is getting back on its feet. Bruce Hoskins, 55, was living on the RiverWalk, recently. He suffered a stroke and was beaten up by a group of guys who took his walker.
When the organizers of Trunks of Love found out, they reassured Bruce that they would get him off the streets. Bruce has a new walker and is living at the Grace House, a men's shelter in Columbus.
There's also the Trinity House, a safe haven for women. But this group effort extends far beyond food and shelter. They are also providing free laundry, medical care, job readiness and fun activities to the homeless.
Breakfast and lunch are served at the SafeHouse on Hamilton Road 365 days a year. Dinner is provided at the Valley Rescue Mission and at the Salvation Army.
In the meantime, the organizations are banning together to honor one of their own with a memorial at Rosehill United Methodist Church/SafeHouse on Hamilton Road Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 4 p.m.