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Shelter Staff Recognized by Mayor as Pivotal in There’s A Better Way Program

Good Samaritan: St. Martin Hospitality Center’s William Cole

February 17, 2017


Albuquerque, NM- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry awarded William Cole as this week’s Good Samaritan for his remarkable dedication to the Mayor’s panhandling initiative directly contributing to its success.

In 2010, Cole moved to Albuquerque from his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Upon his arrival, he began to work as a Shelter Monitor and then in Shelter Maintenance at Steelbridge Resource Center’s Westside Shelter, formerly known as the Albuquerque Rescue Mission. In February 2015, Cole began working as a Security Guard at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center’s Day Shelter.

While Cole was working for St. Martin’s as a Security Guard, Mayor Berry launched the There’s A Better Way van program. In the program’s second phase, the City of Albuquerque teamed up with St. Martin’s Hospitality Center to get people connected to the right resources, and to transition them from this job into more stable employment through St. Martin’s Employment Support program. The City and St. Martin’s needed someone to drive the There’s A Better Way van, to transport clients to a job site, then back to St. Martin’s to be connected with an emergency shelter to receive services, as needed. When it was time for St. Martin’s to choose who would drive the van, Cole was, undoubtedly, seen as and chosen to be the best candidate for the position.

When Cole drives up to individuals standing on street corners who are panhandling, he has a keen sense of determining who is ready and willing to do an honest day’s worth of work. In addition to Cole picking up and supervising the clients, he works alongside them. He develops comradery with the clients while they ride together in the van; the clients respect and listen to him. His ability to engage with clients makes him a natural for the There’s A Better Way van program.

Recently, Mayor Berry delivered a powerful and engaging talk at TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue about Albuquerque’s “There’s A Better Way” program and highlighted the successes of the program. Mayor Berry explained the success of the program was, in part, because Cole was selected by St. Martin’s to drive the program van. “Will Cole is a super fantastic human being,” remarked Mayor Berry. “He is truly a one of a kind, we are so fortunate to have him on this program, helping people find dignity through work.”

According to St. Martin’s Associate Executive Director, Vicky Palmer, while his noticeably tall stature could seem imposing, he is one of the gentlest people. Cole interacts with clients with behavioral health illnesses, who is able to calmly help clients who become very angry.

It is for these reasons that William Cole was recognized as this week’s City of Albuquerque’s Good Samaritan.


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