He had a gruff voice.
He growled at my kids, but he did not scare them.
For me this says it all. Augie was one of those gruff men, with a soft interior, and my children knew this instinctively. No matter how much he barked, they were not scared. He barked at them telling them to be careful, and then gave them his chair so they could play with the cameras. For my children he was one of the most important people in the Drop-In. There were sad when they found out he had passed away. [Augie passed away, Wednesday, April 23, 2008]
He was a man who was both differential to me out of respect, yet willing to assert his authority by calling me on my cell phone to remind me that I had a master key signed out, and had not returned it.
He always told me that he did not want “Alan on his case”, but I always knew that really it was because working security in the Drop-In was a matter of pride for him. He did his job to the best of his ability.
For those of us who have known Augie for a long time, we know that there are two sides to the man. He was a gentle giant; there is no doubt about that. But neither is there any doubt about the past that he worked to put behind him. I would be curious to hear from someone who knew the old Augie what he was like. I can imagine, but I will never know.
Augie always expressed gratitude to the people who gave him a chance to live differently than his past, especially a woman from Edmonton who gave him a job in a hotel. He spoke to me several times about this women (who’s name unfortunately I do not know) and how by giving him a job when no one else would when he got out of jail, she turned his life around.
I think in a similar way, the staff at C110 who listened to Augie as he struggled to build a life in Calgary, and then when the Drop-In gave him a job doing security on the construction site that became this building also gave Augie something important to those of us who are human.
I may be wrong, because I never heard Augie say this, but I think working security for the Drop-In was Augie’s way of making up for all the other stuff in his life. His way of contributing something good to this world.
Augie, thank you for showing my children what a kind caring person you were. Thank you for letting them play in your chair.
Submitted by: John R.