Bob the Bum is living an alcohol-free life at his new home in Comox.

Bob the Bum living in Comox and homeless no more

Robert Galligan is a recovered alcoholic who has done time in jail and who has spent many years living on the street.

Robert Galligan is a recovered alcoholic who has done time in jail and who has spent many years living on the street.

He is 55, diabetic and arthritic. He packs a cane on the back of a three-wheel electric bike.

Galligan is known around the Comox Valley as Bob the Bum — and he is a Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society success story.

The non-profit group has arranged housing for him in a one-bedroom suite in Comox, where Bob has resided for several months. His previous residence had been at St. Joseph’s General Hospital, where he wound up after suffering a stroke.

He had fallen off the wagon at a birthday party the night of the stroke. A friend found him unconscious at the bottom of a staircase and called 911. There were no vital signs when Bob arrived at hospital. Doctors restarted his heart but, fearing brain damage, induced a coma. Ten days later, he regained consciousness.

“You can’t get more of a wakeup call than that,” Bob said from a leather recliner in his living room.

Many years ago, Bob had been a paramedic in Edmonton. It was a promising career, but it came to an abrupt halt following a tragic accident in which most of his family died in a highway crash.

He turned to drinking, and was reduced to dumpster-diving in East Vancouver. Since coming to the Valley 14 years ago, he has slept under a walkway, at an abandoned house and in a tent behind Safeway.

Bob has tried living at the Maple Pool Campsite which offers affordable living in RV units. But the arrangement did not work, due in part to the proximity to downtown Courtenay.

He is surrounded by clean-living people at his new digs.

“Nobody here drinks.”

Bob ventures into town once or twice a month. Otherwise, he hangs out at his pad, beach combs and collects bottles.

And drinks coffee.

“Now I’m addicted to coffee instead of beer,” he quipped. “I have a cup an hour.”

Bob has a 24-year-old daughter named Markea, who lives in Edmonton. He has not seen her in 22 years. He also has three grand-daughters, and a foster brother in London, Ont.

His dream is to find his daughter.

“Since I quit drinking, I’ve been able to save a lot of money. I’m hoping to raise money to go to Edmonton to visit my daughter. If I have to, I’m hitchhiking. Whatever it’s going to take to meet her.”

Bob recently found out he is to be a recipient of a Secret Santa, an anonymous program that distributes gifts to those in need.

“All the nurses got to know me the time I was in there (hospital).”

Along with medical staff at St. Joe’s, Bob credits Dawn to Dawn for saving his life.

“This is the second time they found me a place. If it wasn’t for them, the homeless situation in the Valley would be pretty nasty.”

Dawn to Dawn rents apartments at market rates and subsidizes the difference between the rent and the amount a client can pay. Subsidies typically average about $200 a month.

The society operates on donations and grants. It is assisting 23 clients but there are possibly a further 50 people in the Valley who need a home.

Those wishing to donate can send cheques to:

Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society, Unit 6C, 821 Shamrock Pl., Comox, B.C. V9M 4G4.

Donations can also be made online at CanadaHelps.org, or at any branch of the Coastal Community Credit Union.

For more information, visit Dawn to Dawn.org.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Comox Valley teen with autism a spectacular guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Seventh annual Campagnolo Lecture coming to Courtenay

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Most Read