2019 Award Winners: Carol Powless, Beth and Dick Putnam

Dorothy Day stressed that the works of peace include feeding and sheltering the poor.  She found that spending time with the poor enabled you to see Christ in them and allowed them to see Christ in you.

Carol Powless

With such love one would see all things new; we would begin to see people as they really are, as God sees them.”  (Dorothy Day)

Carol has long been in the business of seeing the people in her neighborhood “as God sees them.”  Her home is always open to someone from the street, someone with nowhere to go.  Keith Patrick says that “Carol’s couch is always occupied . . . she is our near west side Catholic worker.”

Carol does things that you or I would never do.  As a long time Agape volunteer, she can “lay down the line” when she needs to, yet be gentle and kind when that is needed.  What’s more amazing is that she does all of this from the seat of her wheel chair.  She has traveled long distances in that wheelchair, in all sorts of weather, to pick up something she has seen that one of neighbors could use.  As Keith puts it: “Carol needs to learn how to be handicapped!”  

Carol grew up here in Syracuse and at the reservation.  As a Native American, she is a strong, compassionate woman who is proud of her heritage!

Beth and Dick Putnam

Dick and Beth are connected to the community around them by literally “streams” of good works.  For this couple, “community” means St. Lucy’s and the Bread of Life, but also the non-violent witness of the Plowshares group and Witness for peace, the community of Jail Ministry and the Palmer school in Baldwinsville.

Beth supports Plowshares by cooking meals and preparing food.  And when she began moved working with  5th graders as a TA at Palmer, teachers  asked her “What are you doing with these kids?  They’re thriving!”

Dick had Dorothy Day’s “revolution of the heart” after serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War.  For him, “nothing was right” about that experience.  Through Mary and Dick Keough, he learned about ways to fight for justice and non-violence.  Another mentor was Kathleen Rumpt who worked with Dick in Jail Ministry.  According to Dick, the remarkable thing was that “though those kids were so different than we were, we bonded.”  One dramatic example was that of a young man at the Justice Center accused of rape.  They became friends and Dick eventually contacted the StateAttorney General.  As a result of his advocacy, the man was released from jail the next day!  The two of them still keep in contact.  Another way in which Dick strengthened his commitment to the ways of Dorothy Day was by going to Guatemala with Witness for Peace; there he saw first hand how the poor and marginalized are treated.  

Congratulations to Carol, Beth, and Dick as the co-recipients of the 2019 Dorothy Day Award

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