On the corner of Signal Butte Rd and Southern Ave in Mesa AZ sits a man next to a van. He has a sign that reads USA HELP. That man is a disabled Veteran of the United States Army by the name of Glen Burns. He lost his job doing construction where he drove a water truck and he is now losing his home of 11 years. Glen is only one of 9,324 Maricopa County Citizens who have lost their homes as of April 2011. I don’t care much for politics, but I do care about people. This is Glen’s story.
Glen Burns has given up all luxuries but a cell phone in his battle with HSBC, in hopes that he may save his home. He has even gone as far as sitting on the side of the road looking for help from his community. “I hate to say I’m panhandling, but I am” Glen said. Glen lost his job and since then he hasn’t been able to make a payment on his house. “I have never missed a payment in 11 years” Glen explained. He went on to tell 12 North that in his 11 years as a home owner he has paid $100,000 in interest on his house.
When I asked Glen if there was any hope that he may save his home he said “No, I’m going to lose it. I’ve tried reasoning with HSBC but they want their money now.” Money unfortunately that Glen and his wife don’t have. Glen is hopeful that work will pick up for him again in July and he has finally qualified for disability. “It’s not much, but it’s better then being poked in the eye with a sharp stick” Glen laughed.
Glen was born with a severe learning disability due to a complication at birth that did permanent damage to his brain. This makes it difficult for him to find a job outside of construction and because of his knees he cannot do any manual labor. But he can drive a truck he said and he wants to work. Glen explained to 12 North that the unions have told him that work is supposed to pick back up in July. He also explained this to his home lender but unfortunately in their eyes it’s too little too late.
Glen told 12 North that he has learned a lot sitting in his spot. He said “It’s the people who have the least that give the most.” He went on to say that people often apologize because that can’t give more. “These are just hard blue-collar workers and they don’t have much to give. But they do and it’s just amazing.” Glen explained.
I often wonder where we are headed as a society. Like I said before politics is not for me, I never really cared about what the guy on TV had to say about “our problems”. But I care greatly for my community and I believe that we can’t rely on bunch of grumbling politicians 2,287 miles away to understand or even care to fix “our problems”. We are the only people who can truly fix the problems in our own community and it for that reason we need to extend a helping hand to people like Glen.