By Rosalie Tirella
Abhorrent – my neighbors. After yesterday’s crazed cupcake incident, then the WHITE-PAINT-all-over-Rose’s car catastrophe, I guess it’s time for my nemesis to vacuum her car! No heart.
The opposite of my friend, Main South community activist and one-man social service agency Peter Stefan, owner of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home at 838 Main St. Peter’s the Heart of Worcester’s Main South neighborhood!!
Peter saw my paint-covered-car photo and called me to say: MOVE OUT! THEY’RE GONNA GO AFTER YOUR DOGS! I’LL PAY FOR YOUR CAR TO BE WASHED AT THE CARWASH! COME DOWN FOR SOME MONEY!!
You know, my friend Peter is ALL HEART, no matter what some folks at City Hall may think! Injustice of any kind moves him – even though he’s seen a lot in his 80+ years and he’s been in the middle of so many great battles for social justice here in our city, often on the vanquished side. Yet, he never despairs, his heart never grows cold, never turns away, unmoved, by people in need. Peter’s never dismissive of poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, animal cruelty.
Peter is running for Mass Governors Council, District 7, – you should vote for this good, unpretentious man! … Today, you’d think he’d be calling me for a positive political story. Ingratiating himself with this writer and inner-city newspaper owner. Pushing for some pretty prose. Nope. Peter called me this afternoon because he was moved by my car pic and plight – got in touch with me to HELP ME, offer real feelings about my dogs, my life, the safety of us all. And expressing real dismay at the actions of bad actors.
This is the Peter Stefan I’ve known – Worcester has known – for years and years. The guy who gives food to the hungry, helps indigent seniors pay for their prescription meds, helps another elderly person pay his heating bill, buries Worcester’s unwanted: the scrawny homeless guys found in train box cars, dead in the dead of winter … the murdered gang members … little babies tragically mute, their sweet breath stopped cold…their parents too poor to pay for their caskets (so small!) and their burial sites and funeral services. No one cares about these people. They have no clout. Peter has always cared for them … loved them.
If you write Peter Stefan’s name on the ballot line where it says governors council and fill in the oval next to his name on November 3, if you elect Peter to Governors Council, we will ALL GET A FIERCE LOVER OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, RACIAL EQUALITY, COMPASSION FOR ALL – especially the state’s most vulnerable. He will make Massachusetts courts MORE JUST – racially balanced, lots of women judges/clerk magistrates, less incarceration and more community service/true rehabilitation.
A bonus: Peter will also donate his entire Governors Council salary – a $36,000 a year salary – for two years – to Worcester County Food Pantries and Homeless Shelters: from Fitchburg and Gardner to Southbridge and Webster. The Worcester County Food Bank in Shrewsbury, too. And the Veterans Shelter and Pernet Health food pantries, right here in Worcester. Milford and Athol, small towns but also struggling with hunger, especially during these days of COVID and job layoffs/economic landslides, will get money, too. Most likely Peter will visit the food pantries to check out the operations for himself! He was a board member and a HUGE advocate of the now gone PIP WET HOMELESS SHELTER down the road from him, in Main South, at the cusp of downtown. Peter would go every week to Nissans Wholesale Bakery on Quinsig Ave and buy a ton of freshly made pastries, rolls and more for all the homeless people at the PIP. Every week. He’d then drive down to the PIP, deliver them to the wet shelter on the corner of Charlton and Main and talk to the people there, visit with the staffers, buck up PIP Executive Director Buddy Brousseau, who loved Peter. Peter used to say: “I’m the PIP’s junkyard dog!” He was right! Whenever the PIP was in the news and it was bad, Peter was all over the situation asking newspaper readers, rhetorically: WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR MOTHER OR DAUGHTER OR SON OR FATHER? He always saw THE HOMELESS PERSON as a person first and foremost. A human being, God’s child.
🦋 During the COVID 19 pandemic Peter doesn’t spread the novel corona virus – he wears his facial mask and social distances – but he still spreads love. Always has. As the owner of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home, he cleansed and cared for the bodies of AIDS patients when no one would touch them. It was in the 1980s and no other funeral homes wanted to wash, embalm, respect the bodies of deceased HIV patients; funeral home owners were fearful of the relatively new virus – thought they could catch it through body fluids. Plus, many funeral home directors were just plain old homophobic and didn’t want to deal with gay folks and their friends and families.
Peter led the way – became an advocate for people with HIV BEFORE ANY ONE ELSE IN HIS BUSINESS. This decision, I will never forget, because it was so selfless and fearless.
Please vote for our Classic Peter (Stefan) on November 3!!