[Hpn] Homeless man found acceptance in Fort Worth

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Thu, 26 Jul 2001 11:30:42 -0400


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-------Forwarded article-------

Thursday, July 26, 2001
Star-Telegram <http://www.star-telegram.com>
[Fort Worth, Texas, USA]
Fort Worth News section
Homeless man found acceptance in Fort Worth
<http://web.star-telegram.com/content/fortworth/2001/07/26/fwnews/fw010402-0726-XB001-homeless.htm>

IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLES, HE WON TRUST

By Deanna Boyd and Melody McDonald
Star-Telegram Staff Writers

FORT WORTH - To people who passed him on the street, the homeless man could 
be frightening - a dirty, bearded fellow who frequently snarled through his 
few teeth and barked.

But to those who came to know Danny Lee Matchett, he was a kind, churchgoing 
man who would rather earn his keep than take handouts.

"Even though he was offensive at times and as a general rule frightened 
people, they were beginning to trust him and accept him even in the midst of 
his problems," said Don Anderson, who met Matchett three months ago. "That 
gives hope to all of us."

Matchett, 36, was killed Tuesday morning when he was struck by a Union 
Pacific freight train as he walked on railroad tracks near the 6100 block of 
East Lancaster Avenue.

A Fort Worth police official initially said he might have committed suicide 
because he did not respond to the train's whistle. But investigators said 
Wednesday that Matchett was wearing headphones and listening to a radio 
tucked into his pocket.

"I think he was listening to some music and was walking with his back to the 
train and just didn't hear" the horn, homicide Detective Mike Carroll said. 
"He never even looked back at them."

Anderson, who recently founded One Lighthouse Inc., a Christian-based 
advocacy service, met Matchett on April 25 after noticing that he had been 
sleeping for months beside an east Fort Worth feed store.

Matchett was originally from Pomona, Calif., and had been in the Fort Worth 
area for about eight months, Anderson said. He was an intelligent man who 
had architectural drafting experience and could do construction, landscaping 
and painting.

But demons seemed to surface when he drank, Anderson said.

"When he drank even a little bit, it would cause him to be a little 
disoriented," Anderson said. "He would talk to himself, and he wasn't in his 
right mind."

Anderson took Matchett to the Slab, a soup kitchen and ministry on the 
corner of East Rosedale Street and Interstate 35. Later he talked a 
convenience store into letting Matchett have items for which Anderson would 
later pay.

In return, Matchett helped Anderson plant flowers, and do carpentry, 
housework and yardwork at Scarborough House in Kennedale, a residential 
facility for the homeless and sick.

"He just wanted to be a free spirit," Anderson said. "He stayed [at the 
house] for about three days, but he just couldn't be around people too 
terribly much."

In the past few months, Matchett visited Handley Baptist Church daily to use 
the restroom. He also attended Sunday services there and went to nearly all 
of the church's outreach activities, said the Rev. Andy Addis, the church's 
pastor.

"If we ever had a fellowship, he was there," Addis said. "Like on Fourth of 
July, we had a hot dog supper and ice cream. When we cleaned up, he was 
there to help. If you put away one table, he put away two.

"Danny was unique in that he never asked for one thing. He never asked for 
money or food, he would just come to the services and help."

On Sundays, Matchett, who was self-conscious about his appearance, came to 
church late and left before the service was over, Addis said.

Matchett had few possessions, Anderson said - just an old bedroll, two 
shirts, two pairs of pants, a windbreaker and a deck of cards to play 
solitaire.

Addis said that if family members do not come forward, the church will have 
a funeral for Matchett, which Anderson will conduct.

"We are offering to do that because we are the only church that we know of 
that he was a participator in," Addis said. "He was a super friend. And 
while he was homeless, he was not alone."


Deanna Boyd, (817) 390-7655

dboyd@star-telegram.com

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Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA




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