Friend shares letter showing Nick Fish’s compassion to formerly homeless couple

News

Fish contributed $250 to couple's crowdfunded wedding

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As tributes for the late Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish continue to pour in from colleagues, friends and admirers, he is being remembered as a man who took time out to attend a wedding of a formerly homeless couple that he came to know personally.

Fish died Thursday after a years-long battle with stomach cancer just days after he announced his retirement from being City Commissioner.

Nick Fish embracing a friend, the formerly homeless Denise Brown at her wedding. November 23, 2019 (Photo by Rhonda Nutting).

Fish had attended a wedding for two of his friends six weeks prior at First Congregational Church in downtown Portland.

Julius and Denise Brown received their dream wedding from a crowd fund organized by another friend, David Utzinger. Fish made a contribution to the fund for $250, according to the Go Fund Me page.

The couple are longtime volunteers of Potluck at the Park, a meal program in downtown Portland.

Fish first became acquainted with the couple 10 years ago when Denise and Julius were living under a bridge, according to a letter Fish wrote to his fellow city council members and friends. Utzinger shared the letter to KOIN 6 News.

Julius and Denise had ultimately been placed in housing thanks to a non-profit called JOIN.

Denise Brown (left) and Julius Brown were formerly homeless and met at a free meal program in downtown Portland. November 23, 2019 (KOIN/Danny Peterson).

Fish originally met the couple while serving as Housing Commissioner and specifically asked Marc Jolin, JOIN’s Executive Director and Fish’s friend, if he could personally deliver a meal to one of their clients. Ever since that Christmas Eve visit between Fish’s family and Denise and Julius, they remained friends.

“[T]heir story reminds me why Portland is such a special place,” Fish remarked in the letter.

Utzinger said Fish’s letter “says everything about the humanity of this man.”

Follow KOIN 6 for the latest news and weather

App

Download our FREE news and weather apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for our email newsletters.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss