Everybody has an opinion about homeless people. Thoughts vary from “oh, come on why can’t they just get jobs?” to “Well, they must be mentally ill!” And these may be valid sentiments, the fact is these are human beings. Who may be loved and appreciated by other human beings. And, because we usually do not have the opportunity to get to know them, we don’t realize how many peoples lives they can affect.

Butch, who apparently lives on the streets in and around Phillipsburg was one of those humans who touched many lives. Known by seemingly hundreds of the residents of Phillipsburg and surrounding areas, his recent passing was paid tribute to in a moving Facebook post in which his death was announced.

Butch Tigar passed away on Sunday morning. I am a close friend of his family and I'm roommates with his sister. I was here when the sister got the confirmation that he did in fact pass. Saturday at 2PM at the old Norton office buildings on Heckman St, there is going to be a vigil in his memory. Butch never bothered a soul and was always there to help out in any way he can. He was a well known citizen of the Phillipsburg community. If anyone would like to participate please do so

Perhaps mostly because WE would never get to know them, we generally think of homeless people as solitary loners, this description of Butch’s life shows that that’s not necessarily true. Butch was actually a part of a “community” who cared about him, despite his many struggles, inviting him to church and to their homes for a meal or a shower.

Not sure what kind of service Butchy is going to have but I felt inclined to talk about his life a little bit today. I have known Butch for a long time. The Butch that died this week is not the same Butch I always knew. There was a day when Butch got up every morning and headed to work in Washington. He worked alongside of his father at I believe the company was Persall pallet. I believe the Butch that just passed came about after his father passed. Butch became the Butch we now know running from the stress of this world and he became lost. It was difficult to watch him stumble down this dead end road. I know what he was capable of and I knew he chose different.

I am thankful to be part of a church that welcomed Butch in. The Catholic church across from us did as well. I personally know people from both churches that have taken homeless people home to shower, feed them and get them warmed when it was cold. This goes on behind the scenes and goes unnoticed but it does happen. Our church welcomed Butch. I have eaten Thanksgiving dinner with him quite a few times. I knew Butch's struggles. At times he conquered his sin only to fall back. Butch was lost in a tough world. Our Pastor once preached a sermon that Butch was used in. He didnt mention him by name but we knew who he was talking about. Butch didn't shower much and often smelled pretty foul. It didn't stop him from being welcomed. My pastor was talking about what the church is really about. Our main goal is to reach the dying with the words of life through faith in Christ. I know Butch heard that message but the church is so much more. We are to look after the Butches put before us. Our pastor spoke to our congregation and told us that if it bothers you to sit next to someone that smells then maybe our church isnt for you. Butch was welcome as are all people. There is no room for discrimination in the church. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are all Butchys walking through this life. His sin might be more visible than mine but I am no different. Butchy needed Jesus and so do I. Maybe God will use Butch one more time to show us where we fall short. Maybe there is a homeless person that you see and turn the other way. Maybe today Butch will be on your heart and you won't turn away but you will move towards them. It is not easy but it is possible. Gonna miss Butchy. He was more than the Butch that died a homeless man.

It’s something to think about next time you see a homeless person: They are human, have hearts and souls and can actually be missed by many when they are gone. RIP Butchy.

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