Homelessness occurs frequently all over the world. Many homeless people pass away without receiving help or anyone even knowing they existed. However, this is not the case for one man. Many people will remember Vaughan Orchard, a homeless man from Central Maine, because of another man’s kindness. This homeless man’s cremation paid for by Colby graduate.
Homeless and Alone
Struggling with mental illness and drug addiction, Vaughan Orchard passed away last March at 57 years of age from a heart attack. He loved the outdoors and chose a tent as his dwelling instead of seeking refuge in a shelter. For reasons that are unknown to the public, he left his family in Head of Falls, and chose to live alone.
Although his family members reached out and offered help, he continued living along the Kennebec River. He spent his days looking for ways to help other homeless people by giving them bottles or cans he collected.
A College Graduate Offers Kindness
Stuart Wantman, a graduate of Colby College, read about Orchard’s passing in the newspaper. While reading the newspaper, the homeless man’s story touched his heart and he wanted to help the family in any way he could. Knowing that Orchard’s family did not have the finances for the funeral and burial costs, the 73-year-old came up with a plan.
Stuart Wantman’s fundraising company contacted several of his fellow graduates from 1966. They all gave contributions to the expenses of the cremation. The members of Orchard’s family extended gratitude to Wantman and his friends for their amazing acts of kindness.
Wantman’s Kindness Touches Families
Orchard’s 34 year-old daughter Tanya felt many emotions over this stranger’s generosity. Other people who heard about Wantman’s kindness also gave extra donations to Tanya and her family. Tanya recalls many wonderful memories about her father and she hopes people will remember him for many years.
Tanya’s memories of her father caused Stuart to remember his own father’s passing when he was very young. Stuart worked his way through college and received guidance from older business owners in the town. It is his desire to give back to the community in many ways.