Remembering BackPack Bill

By Glenda Andrews 

Bill “BackPack” Kimerly passed away this month, and Jubilee House shares this fond remembrance.

Bill Kimmerly

The other day one of the men who come in regularly arrived soaking wet. Bill, who is around 55, carries everything he owns in a large black plastic bag on a cart, which is never out of his sight. He will not take his shoes off because he is afraid someone will steal them and then he would have to walk in bare feet. He suffers from Jungle Rot on his feet because they are always wet. A Jubilee volunteer coaxed him to take his shoes off so they could dry and spray them (there are hair dryers and special spray for Mersa for this), treated his feet, and gave him dry socks.

While all of this was going on, Bill reached into his belongings and brought out a crucifix and told us he found it in a dumpster and thought we would like it for Jubilee House. A deep discussion began around the table about the cross and our beliefs. Time got late and there wasn’t a decision made where to hang the cross so the cross was put into a drawer. The following day another person went into the drawer to find some scissors and saw the cross. He pulled it out and asked “What is this doing in here? We should hang it on the wall.” At this point the discussion about where to hang the cross seemed irrelevant and the decision to hang it on the wall was made. The whole house got into the rules of where it should be hung. Once the patrons decided where to hang the cross, they went about measuring the wall so it would be exactly where it should be and looked the best.

This cross was a 6-inch plastic cross that probably cost $1.00 but no one thought about the cost of the little plastic cross only the meaning and love behind it.