This is River, standing in the hot mid-day sun. When I first shook his hand, he was holding a sign that said "Great Investment Me." He was pleased to call me by my name to show that he’s getting his memory back after an accident left him disabled in 2008. He’s been sober all that time.
He said he had recently felt a calling to come to Sedona after living in Grand Junction, CO for the past several years. There, he says, he was instrumental in ministering to street people, helping establish a program where they could earn "Good Samaritan" dollars from the police, city officials, and business owners who recognized when the homeless were helpful in the community they could receive vouchers for food or services.
He believes Sedona is a caring community and he's begun reaching out to local civic and church leaders while making connections within the homeless population here. Before I left he blessed me, telling me the story of Jesus and the Widow’s Mites, which serves as his inspiration to help others. He doesn’t have much, he says, but whatever he gives always comes back to him more. A food truck, closing up for the day, came by. The driver leaned out and handed River three burritos. He said he would eat one and give the others away.
He smiled when I told him he was handsome, and he said he had just cut his own hair. “Before this, I looked like Santa."