The shelter is about 5 blocks from our office and I have ridden past the construction every day for months. Very exciting
More than one VIP insisted it had to be true.
As a line of homeless people cut a blue ribbon Wednesday on the brisk count of one, two, three, somebody in heaven was applauding - even if he had to juggle a cigarette to do it.
"I know Father Woody is saying, 'What took you so long?' " quipped retired King Soopers president Don Gallegos to more than 200 people gathered at West Seventh Avenue and Lipan Street, where trucks rumble by and the homeless linger.
Now the corner will also be known as the address of Fr. Woody's Haven of Hope, a $1.1 million day shelter for homeless people that was paid for through private donations.
Inside the sleek stucco building, men and women will be served daily breakfasts and lunches, given access to private showers and haircuts, and provided long distance phone service and laundered clothes.
That's the kind of dignity that the shelter's namesake, a chain-smoking Catholic priest officially called Monsignor Charles B. Woodrich, always accorded the poor, speakers said.
"If you could suffer the second-hand smoke, you got pretty close to a saint," said Gov. Bill Ritter, who like many city and state officials knew "Woody" on a first- name basis.
Father Woody's legacy
The poor got to know him, too. In their honor, some homeless people cut the ritual blue ribbon.
Billy Cave, 47, was one of them.
"It means a lot," Cave said. "I used to live near here, on the street. When I was drinking I lost my way."
Sixteen years after he died, Woodrich, a former advertising executive, is still linked to homeless issues.
He was a driving force behind the founding of the Samaritan House shelter, as well as the sandwich line for the poor at Holy Ghost Church, where he was a pastor. He got national media attention during the blizzard of 1982 when he opened the church to freezing street people.
"If Woody were here there would be ten times more cameras and a direct feed to the White House," said the Rev. John Lager, an adviser to the new facility. "He knew how to capture the media."But his real genius, Lager said, "was to inspire others to do what he did, one by one
Rocky Mountain News