Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Body Found in the Fox River

Eddie Cook of Oshkosh was pulled out of the Fox River this morning about 10:00 in the area of the Leach Amphitheatre. It is surmised that he fell in late last night but probably by 6am this morning. Ed, about 58, was a familiar sight on the streets in the downtown area. Short in stature, he had long grey hair which he combed straight back. He was thin, with light colored glasses. He was a common daily visitor to the Oshkosh Public Library and read the Northwestern. He would make his way to Workforce Development in the old SBC building and to the Salvation Army. He spent a lot of time at the river by the Main Street Bridge and had taken to sleeping under the bridge.

He was a decent fellow and had no enemies. He carried a rectangular black briefcase everywhere he went. He volunteered quite a bit at the Salvation Army helping with preparation and serving of meals. He worked hard and complained almost as much, but still continued to help. He volunteered to help, as he put it, 'build his resume'. He was well liked and fair with people. He was doing some telemarketing work the last few months.

Eddie slept under the bridge. He felt, as many others do, that to stay at Father Carr's was worse than being in jail. He wanted nothing to do with Father Carr.

Ed did not know how to swim. We may never know the circumstances of his death but I will list some items of interest here.

-The city had installed a fence to prevent people from going under the bridge. It stopped at the water's edge. People swung around it momentarily being over open water. The fence stopped nothing. There is no question that the fence made it more dangerous to get under the bridge.

-Rats, rather large ones, had taken to stealing food, even pulling away entire plastic grocery bags. (Could a rat have startled him?)

-Ed may have had too much beer, which at his weight might have been 3-cans.

-He could've slipped. He had been in severe pain at times lately over a knee problem.

Eddie will be missed. He had been working at trying to get on disability for some time and carried his correspondence around in that black briefcase which he was never without.

How many Eddies will die before a more dignified method of taking care of people is legislated?


babblemur said...

Thank you, Gary, for writing this. Dignity for the homeless these days is at an all time low, and you are a good man for bringing it back.

AngelAiken AKA Thee U.M.O.G said...

I agree.
It sounds like you knew him and I did too.
I wish I would have stopped to talk to him at least once.

but I did'nt and I regret it.

Lisaben said...

I'm so sorry, Gary, that you lost a friend and sorry for our community that it lost a good man.


Bryan L. Bain said...

Thank you for providing much more insight into the person involved, not just the incident itself. I appreciate it very much!