RAVENEL, S.C. (WCSC) -Sunday, community members in Ravenel came together to remember a man who became a “staple” in the area.
More than three dozen people showed up to a community memorial for Brian Ross, a homeless man living behind the Food Lion off Savannah Highway. He died on Thursday.
Many said Ross and his dog, Happy, turned short conversations with people passing by into lasting relationships.
"He just became a very good friend of mine," event organizer Loretta Redwood said. "He was someone you wanted to help because you knew that at some point he really did want to get out of the mess he was in."
Over the past year and a half, community members started taking a vested interest in helping him, taking Ross to doctor's visits and even working toward getting an ID, food stamps and social security.
Whether it was vaccinations, food or flea medications, Patrick Allen with the Charleston Humane Society helped Ross care for his dog, Happy. Now, his care continues.
"Brian and I have talked about it previously that if he died before Happy that I would take him and make sure that he has a good home," Allen said. "So that's what I'm doing"
According to the Department for Housing and Urban Development' sannual assessment of homelessness, although the highest number of homeless live in urban areas, those living in largely rural communities across the country have the highest rate of unsheltered homelessness; people like Ross who lived in a tent.
"You don't see a homeless person in a rural area that's visible like that," Ravenel resident, Rebecca Avrett said. "Most of the time, you see homeless people downtown and things like that. That's why everybody wanted to pull and be there for him."
So the community that came to care for Ross returned to the same spot one last time to honor his life and talk about lessons learned from befriending a man on the side of the road.
“He taught me to not judge and to love,” Redwood said. “Because the whole community showed that today.”
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