Dave Holland is our good friend and Chef at HSC’s Downtown Welcome Table. We mourn with him the loss of this wonderful friend and mentor, Ellen Donovan, who served with us as a Companion at HSC from its beginning. RIP, Ellen.

In Dave’s words…

“There was a man, who made a radical decision to leave the secular world behind and follow the voice that spoke clearly to his heart for a number of years. This man was at an all-time low in his life, abandoned by the world and all the people that thought that accountability was more important than the human spirit. He was at the verge of sheer death. So he went into the woods, and asked his God to either change him and give him direction in his life or take him home, so his heart would hurt no more. For many nights he slept in these woods, and then the nights turned to months but his God did not take him home, he introduced him to a new group of people that would forever change his life. These people gave him purpose and a platform to follow a lifelong dream of just serving Christ and Christ alone. They did not provide for him all the things that the world could, but they gave him something more, much more, they loved him with a real love, the kind that changes lives, the kind that caused him to be transformed into this other person. How? They introduced him to the man he thought he already knew so well, they introduced him to the man behind the voice that had haunted him for decades, they introduced him the Jesus of Nazareth, not the man preached about in a church house, or written about in a cannon, but God incarnate. They taught him to let go of material things, and all the world has to offer, and to live in the peace of a Kingdom yet to come. They helped him lose 100 pounds, and get healthy, taught him how to hike the Appalachian Trail, embraced his self-designed ministry and gave him a job and a platform from which to launch it. They saved his life, both in the spirit and in the flesh. One of these people was named Ellen Donovan, a local business owner and CPA. She offered him a cheap place to live, and then gave him work to pay for it, she cooked for him, taught him how through a few changes in his diet that he could become much healthier in a few months. She introduced him to a world that said it was ok if you are different, and there is no need to fear people because they do not think like you. She renewed his kinship to animals, taught him that all life was important and informed him that like her, he had much to learn. I watched as she took people off the street and gave them work, she came to the Welcome Table each week to work along beside us, she gave people rides, money, clothing, food, complete strangers that she had only known for a few minutes. She became my friend, and mentor, and so much more. I grew to trust her with my spirit and my life. She encouraged me to follow my dream and supported me in the process, even though her religious beliefs were different, she respected mine, and lifted them up. Ellen left us yesterday to go be with her God. My heart cries out for justice against my own sins, but I am forever grateful to have known her, for she has forever changed me. May the God of Abraham comfort her and her family.”