Posted by Tony Parziale on Nov 20, 2019

I’d like to share a story about a woman named Lilly who found her way into the fitness center on Tuesday. Lily came in with a guest pass that our staff had left at a local doctor’s office.  At first, everything seemed to be normal. I did notice however that she was dressed a little unusual. When I looked around, I also noticed that she parked a small personal shopping cart on the side wall in the lobby. It was loaded with what looked like to be all of her belongings.  As I continued to talk with her, I realized that Lily was suffering from some mental issues. She told me that she was sleeping on the campus at Princeton University. That all changed when the campus police had a removal order issued for her to leave.

Lily is forty-seven years old. She was originally from California and somehow found her way to Newark, New Jersey. From there, she managed to get to Trenton and eventually found her way to Princeton.  Lily thought that she could enroll in Princeton University and was sure that they would accept her. Her conversations seemed to travel in and out of reality. She told me that after leaving Princeton University, she was sleeping in an office building. In that office building, she wandered into a doctor’s office and found a pass to the fitness center. Lily attempted to live in that office complex until she was once again removed.
Lily was clearly someone who I believe may never have the where-with-all to be self-sufficient. Her family had abandoned her.  Lily is one of the people who society needs to look after. She is someone who needs a societal safety net. She doesn’t have the support of her family and doesn’t appear have the ability to take care of herself. In an effort to help, I reached out to some of the shelters that we’re familiar with.
Unfortunately, call after call was met with someone who connected me to a voice mail. Time was not on our side. Lily was at the center and we needed help for her right away. I didn’t want her turned back to the street.  I reached out to the Montgomery Police department (who have never let me down). Officer Jason Clifford along with two other officers came over to see if they could help.  Officer Clifford and his colleagues couldn’t have been nicer. They spoke to Lily in a very kind, patient and respectful way. My impression was that all of the officers truly cared and wanted to help her.  
Officer Clifford and his team drove Lily to a hospital to be checked out and then made arrangements for her at a shelter. They truly deserve the title of Montgomery’s Finest. They demonstrated true service above self.
Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”- Dalai Lama
Yours in Rotary,
Tony Parziale