Homeless Man’s Funeral Paid For

Juanita Vega who lives in the neighborhoods of Manhattan fought tooth and nail to pay her last respects to a man who passed on after making a huge impression on her. Every morning, Juanita would pass by where Richard Coleman who was known to many as Richie or Smokey slept and wake him. The Upper East Side Bank has been a working place for Juanita for some time now and since Richard had found his night resting place there, they made regular interactions as she got to work and as he rose to face the day.

By late April Juanita had stopped seeing Richard but due to the fact that this was not a residential place for him, she thought that he may have taken up a new place. This normally happened for the past 20 years that Richard had utilized the comfort of this place as his bedroom. He would skip a day or two, and that was very normal. A few weeks down the line, Juanita was informed of the saddening news on the NYC News Website that Coleman had kicked the bucket at an age of 62 years.

In realization of this, she swung into action buy trying to remove the body of the deceased from the office of the medical examiner. The process is usually daunting but with the help of Tom Valek, her boyfriend, it was successful. In a contribution exercise via National Alliance to End Homelessness, people raised $1,700 to aid in footing bills.

On April 27th Laura Bogdanski who knew him for 10 years, held a memorial service at Carl Schurz Park. Valek represented Juanita in the burial service at Rosemount Memorial Park on the 29 May as she would not attend due to commitments at her work.


Brian Peterson was born and raised in Syracuse. He has written for NPR, The Business Insider and Passport Magazine. In regards to academics, Brandon earned his BBA from St. John’s University. Brandon covers entertainment and culture stories here at New York Daily Gazette..

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