(WSVN) - Law enforcement is there to protect and serve, but one local deputy has taken his calling well beyond that. 7’s Craig Stevens shows us how he has dramatically changed one man’s life in tonight’s Hope and Healing.
Deputy Mark Barrie patrols the streets of Deerfield Beach.
Deputy Mark Barrie, Broward Sheriff’s Office: “I’m just a regular deputy on road patrol, working street crimes at night.”
He has experienced a lot in his years with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, but a call he received one night in 2008 changed his life forever.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “A homeless person in the middle of the roadway at Dixie and Hillsboro Boulevard, and that was my first encounter with Steve.”
Steve, who had been homeless for some time at that point, appeared to be at the end of his rope.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “Not good. He was erratic. He had a lot of medical issues, and that scared people. That’s why they called.”
That call stayed with Deputy Barrie, and he kept tabs on Steve.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “I would come in contact with him. I would hear other deputies come in contact with him on the radio.”
Then one day, Deputy Barrie decided he wanted to know more about this homeless man, so he took him for lunch at McDonald’s, and over a simple fish sandwich, he heard an unexpected life story.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “I learned that he’s a graduate of UCF with a degree in accounting, that he grew up right here in Boca Raton. He once had a family that thrived here in the area.”
Steve says he was once a successful accountant, but when his mom died, he became depressed.
First he lost his job, and then his home.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “Some people, if they don’t have the resources around them or the network of family and friends, once that network disappears, you have nothing. So, he needed a friend.”
And that’s when this patrolman decided to become the patron for a man who had nothing.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “Actually took my own money and put him in a hotel, got him in there, and I said, ‘Here’s our plan.'”
The deputy started reaching out to agencies to get Steve his social security and disability benefits.
He even found out the homeless man had a pension he wasn’t collecting.
Steve Wend, formerly homeless: “He was very helpful to me, he’s understanding towards me.”
And now he’s making sure Steve has a solid future.
Steve Wend: “I got a place to live. He owns free and clear, a one-bedroom, one-bath condo.”
Steve bought his own place with the money he was owed from the government and lives independently — with Mark checking in on him once a week.
Now Steve dreams about once again taking up a favorite hobby.
Steve Wend: “I used to like to go fishing. I like to fish.”
Deputy Barrie hopes sharing Steve’s story will inspire others to also reach out.
Deputy Mark Barrie: “Steve’s a good guy, and everybody should reach out. There’s a lot of Steves out there.”
Deputy Barrie tells us Broward County has homeless outreach specialists at each district office.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Broward Sheriff’s Office
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