“Welcome to Raymond”

Keith Howard | Monday, June 22, 2015


From Oregon Trail to Two Cities Tale: River Crossing Accomplished and Worst of Times Transformed into “Welcome to Raymond.”

Like an old Western serial, this blog left the reader with a cliff-hanger last week. Among the questions unaddressed:

 

  • Would the town first chosen for siting the experimental Liberty Home give up its opposition to me living in a converted cargo trailer?
  • Would the property owner who had first offered to let the Liberty Home sit on his property do as he initially threatened and go to the media saying his town was “against veterans”?
  • Would Keith ever stop singing that damned song—“Baby,  Let Me Follow You Down”?

In order: No, No and Yes, although that affirmative may be misleading as I am currently singing incessantly and for no apparent reason “I Am Not a Pretty Girl” by Ani DiFranco.

 

Instead of the town that didn’t want us, the Liberty Home has been welcomed with much pomp, circumstance and ceremony into Raymond, a town of about 10,000 people about 25 miles from Manchester. The property we are housed on is called Sanctuary and is owned by John and Alaya Chadwick—65 beautiful acres a couple of miles from Pawtuckaway State Park.

 

Last week, Alaya and I were invited to speak to the Raymond Board of Selectman, and that August body welcomed the Liberty Home with enthusiasm and excitement, making clear its support not just of this experiment but of the notion of helping homeless veterans in general. From the building inspector to the fire chief to the entire board, the message was loud and clear: Welcome to Raymond!

 

Yesterday, June 21, Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice, the Liberty Home was formally welcomed into the estate of Sanctuary, the town of Raymond, the state of New Hampshire, and the United States of America. More will be written soon about this welcome, but the bigger transition is from the winter of despair into the summer of hope.
-Keith Howard

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