In a heartwarming update, I received photos from the funeral that Good News Network fans largely funded for a homeless veteran. The man’s daughter was so touched by your generosity that she praised GNN in both the memorial program and booklet—and in the obituary published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
– By Geri Weis-Corbley, Founder and Editor-in-Chief
In the fall of 2016, we posted a story about Steve Knoke, who was living on the prosperous streets of Santa Barbara and, in his words, was “doing fine.” I struck up a conversation with him, so he sat next to me on a park bench. A young woman walked up to him and gave him her pizza restaurant leftovers, and I watched as he happily shared his good fortune with three other homeless folks who saw he had food and asked for a hand-out.
Steve Knoke was a military veteran and an artist—I bought one of his pictures that day—but, most importantly, he was kind and sober about life.
Only a few months had passed when I got an email out of the blue from the man’s daughter, April. First, she thanked me for publishing the article (which she discovered after googling her dad’s name). It had illuminated for her family the years of his life that they had no knowledge of, or connection to whatsoever.
“Without your article,” Ms. Knoke wrote, “we wouldn’t have had this glimpse of who he was for the last 17 years.”
And then she told me Steve had suddenly died, soon after moving back to Minnesota and reuniting with his brother and daughters.
April mentioned they had no money for a funeral and had set up a Go Fund Me campaign. I jumped at the chance to let GNN readers, by way of donating, express their appreciation for the way this 63-year-old man lived his life.
We also posted photos of Steve as a young man and, as a result, with a couple thousand dollars flowing in from people they’d never met, April said they were able to arrange a “quaint funeral.”
“I read the story on GNN, and saw the amazing pictures,” wrote Thomas Casserly, who donated money. “Condolences on Steven’s passing and I hope this helps you honour him in the way you desire.”
“Love his art drawing and poem in the GNN article,” added Melvin Canas, another donor. “Always sad to see a fellow human with great heart and talent move on from this life. But his soul is now resting and he has left inspiration for the rest of us still here.”
“I just have to thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for everything you and the Good News Network Community did,” she wrote in an email this month.
“I can’t thank you enough. You are truly a miracle.”