In 2018, when Chaguanas market vendor Marcia Connell, 56, took in a homeless man, her only goals were to offer him a safe place to sleep and to help him to get back on his feet in the hope that one day he would be reunited with his family.
Sadly 65-year-old Glen Thomas suffered a stroke and died at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) on August 30 this year.
Now Connell’s only wish is for any of his relatives to come forward and claim his body from the San Fernando Mortuary so he can be given a proper burial.
“They have now listed him as a John Doe at the mortuary.
"But he is someone, and his name is Glenn Thomas. He was somebody’s son, and I took him into my home and cared for him for two years. He was somebody. ”
Connell said hospital staff told her they cannot release his body to her, but only to his blood relatives.
"But it has already been three months and his body is still there.” a tearful Connell said.
Connell said weeks before Thomas died, he had left her Chaguanas home and did not return. She did not know he had suffered seizures and collapsed.
Connell went out on the streets of Chaguanas looking for him.
“I went to the Chaguanas Police Station, Chaguanas Hospital, Eric Williams Science Complex Sciences, and nothing. My last option was the San Fernando General Hospital.”
But Connell, a haberdashery vendor, said she was initially also told by the hospital staff in San Fernando that Thomas was not there.
“They said there were no matches for him, and this was because he was listed as a John Doe They had no identification for him.”
Connell said she later learned Thomas was warded at the SFGH and had died there.
“When I found out he was there and died I just stood there in complete shock. I felt as if someone placed their hands in my stomach and pulled something out. I still can’t believe he is gone.”
She said while people did not agree with her decision to take in a stranger into her house, she does not regret it.
“I am a praying woman, and when Glenn walked up to me that day crying and asking if I could help him – yes, he was smelling horrible, I will admit – but I listened to him and looked into his eyes and saw that this was just a man who needed help.”
Thomas lived in a room in the yard of Connell's Chaguanas home.
“ I don’t have much, I am not rich, but I had to help him. I used the little I had to buy him clothes for him, a bed, and made sure his little spot was clean and comfortable. He would have all three meals.”
With Connell’s assistance, Thomas was able to acquire an ID card and birth certificate.
“He now had an identity. He was no longer a homeless man, he had a place of residence and he felt proud to be someone and have a home. I carried him to apply for his pension and he was finally successful. He got his first cheque.
"It came to me in the mail, a cheque he will never be able to spend.”
Connell said things were finally turning around for Thomas.
Or so it seemed.
“I was told that the day he left by me in July, he fell on the roadside and was rushed to the hospital, but did not regain consciousness, so doctors and nurses knew nothing about him.”
She is asking his family to contact her so she can give them all his documents and to claim his body and give him a proper burial.
"I just want Glenn's soul to rest in peace. He deserves that much. Please, just put him to rest."
Connell can be reached at 326-5474.