Don Lupo


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By Rev. Dallas Teague Snider // Photo by Liesa Cole

Homelessness can touch anyone. It does not discriminate based on gender, race, faith or socio-economic standing. It is the elephant in the room that can often be overlooked or disregarded because it seems so overwhelming and hopeless.  I know this first-hand. I will never forget the moment that I walked upon my mother lying on a park bench in Bienville Square in downtown Mobile. There are various reasons and circumstances surrounding this plight, yet the truth remains there is a great need, and it exists in every city in every nation.

I was introduced to Don Lupo through my work with the mayor’s office over the years. Although we have connected from time to time, I was unaware of his tireless effort to be an answer to the many forgotten who call Birmingham home. Imagine my surprise when I discovered his work with some of Birmingham’s most vulnerable citizens–the homeless. In fact, Lupo was recently awarded the 2016 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for his advocacy for the homeless.

To better understand the heart of the man behind the mission, I asked Lupo to share with us some insight into the mind that has inspired such passion. To him it’s all about the community coming together. When we do that we can truly make a difference.

What do you think of when you think of being an everyday hero? 

First, I don’t think of myself as a hero. There are people all around the world doing great things for others. The people that defend us, our officers that patrol our streets, the fireman that runs into a burning building, the families with special needs children, the rabbi, the priest, the preacher, people who run our shelters, the teacher, the coach who works with our young people, and so on—those are heroes.

Describe what you do in your unique way to impact the lives of others? 

I like to think that what we do with the help of so many angels makes a difference in the lives of the least of our people. For years, with the backing and leadership of the mayor, we have been able to open Boutwell Auditorium on cold nights. Boutwell serves as a warming station, a refuge from the cold. No questions asked as to why. If you are without heat, you can come to Boutwell, get a really good hot meal and be provided a cot and blanket for the night. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that lives have been saved at the Boutwell warming station.

Are there any particular challenges you have faced or experienced that have changed your perspective to consider others and make a difference? 

The one thing in my life that changed everything was my mother and her death. She was a great mom, but more than that she lived and loved. She lived every day to the fullest. She loved her parents, my sister and me without reservation. She lived and loved to be of service. She showed us through her living what it meant to be of service. When you do what you believe to be right, you can overcome little bumps in the road.

What is your personal mission or motto? 

“Love thy neighbor, feed the hungry, clothe any that are naked.” That is what we are taught to do by God, and that is what my family taught me to do.

How do you #ThinkLoveFirst in what you do?   

People say that there is no way to do this or that without love. Love comes in many directions, from many people. It sometimes knocks you on the side of your head, it sometimes sneaks into your heart, and sometimes it has to break your heart for you to be able to understand. I know the greatest gift I ever received was God’s love, the love of my family, the love of my children and the love that I receive every day from the least of those on our streets. My advice to people who might see this is “there is a flicker in all of us.”

2 Responses to “Don Lupo”

  1. John Maske says:

    Thank you Don Lupo for all you do. Whether you recognize it or not, you ARE a hero.

  2. Virginia Doye says:

    Thank you many times over for what you do for the county and city. Yes, you are a hero – like it or not!!

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