Under the harsh sun and in the smog of Jarvis Street traffic, Raymond May fidgeted in the heavy suit he wore for his friend’s memorial. He scrunched up his face several times, in obvious pain.

As the afternoon wore on, he removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves, revealing a faded tattoo on his left arm.

He maintained his composure for most of the ceremony, but when the Salvation Army brass band exhaled the mournful harmonies of How Great Thou Art, May, 65, reached for a tissue.

This was a memorial for more than just a homeless man; it was a memorial for Paul Croutch, 59, a former small town newspaper publisher, a husband and friend, a humorous, quiet man who struggled against alcoholism and paranoia.

It also unveiled an annual event, The Day of the Homeless, designed to humanize people on the streets.

Croutch was beaten to death by drunken soldiers as he slept in 2005. Near the end of the ceremony May was called back up to remove a maroon cloth and reveal a burnished plaque that read: One of our own, a casualty of poverty and intolerance.

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