August 20, 2022

(To start the story from the beginning, click here)

random acts of kindness


Holly Stephens, a Peer Specialist from Hunter Mental Health Center (HMHC) and her supervisor, Taylor Thompson are determined to help Officer Alex Grey in finding out who raped a young mother and her baby. Unfortunately, this rape happened to one of Holly’s previous consumers, Ruth Haines and her less than twelve-month year young child, Gabriel.

As the year began, Holly had returned from spending time with her parents somewhere in the South. In addition, she was surprised by her brother, Andrew who said he would be around for their parents. On the flight back to Lake Town, Andrew decided to accompany Holly for two weeks to check out her town. Since Andrew had never been to her part of the world, he thought this would be an opportune time. Of course, Holly jubilantly agreed. After the two weeks, he would hang out with their folks and get settled with his new job.

Those two weeks were great. Most days it was in the 30s and 40s during daylight plus low 30s and 20s at night. When Holly was not working, they went skating in the park, saw a couple of movies, ate a couple of expensive meals and most importantly enjoyed each other’s company. Is this a new dawning in their familiar relationship? Hey, anything is possible, maybe even probable.


Vacation time is over and it is time to get back to work. Mondays after time away are  extremely difficult. Mounds of paper skew the desk, plethora of phone calls, texts and emails to respond. What is Holly going to do? First, breathing properly would be prudent. Breathe in, hold for five seconds, and slowly breathe out. Before Holly attempted this again, Secretary Steve Washington and supervisor Taylor rang the intercom. Steve typed out the majority of her schedule for Monday and Tuesday.

11 AM           WITH TAYLOR
12:15 PM   LUNCH
3 PM            WITH RUTH

?                   LUNCH WITH TAYLOR

Peer Specialists like Holly often have schedules looking like this, especially when being away for two weeks. Naturally, Holly has other consumers, but Taylor made Ruth as a number one priority. Why is this any different since Ruth’s rape? While Holly was on vacation, Steve Washington took over Ruth’s information and visits were done exclusively by Taylor.

Before meeting with Taylor, Holly caught up on reading notes and going through the paperwork from some of her other clients. Sitting at the next cubicle was Steve typing with extreme tension. Upon completion, he got up and walked over to a startled Holly. Mr. Washington almost six feet tall around 200 lbs., good build, a trimmed brown beard to match his long hair along with deep brown eyes. Steve is also a Peer Specialist, but he mostly is assigned to desk duty due to his issues walking. Also, he often uses braces on his left leg.

Since Holly was waiting for Taylor, with the assistance of Steve, they sifted through the papers that were piled on her desk. Before the meeting, Assistant Director Karen Greene walked into Taylor’s office. She wanted to listen to update on Ms. Haines, of course he agreed. Karen Greene was about 5 foot five 5 inches, 130 lbs., medium length strawberry blonde hair and piercing blue eyes behind wire framed eyeglasses.

Promptly at 11 Taylor called Holly into his office. Cases were updated for Holly and a series of messages were handed to her for response. Lastly, they discussed Ruth. Although she is  still in the hospital, she will soon be discharged back to Generations Lodge. Marty Sinclair said that there might be a bed available by the end of the month. Slowly Ruth memories are being restored and she still will be seeing Jane twice a week. Currently, she is Room 419, not 415. Taylor had a lunch meeting at noon and had to run. Ms. Greene attended the entire time; however, she did not utter a single word.


On this cold, windy afternoon in Lake Town, Holly arrived at the hospital and took the glass elevator to the fourth floor. Before visiting Ruth, her therapist Jane wanted to discuss something with Holly. Jane found a vacant office and they met. First, Jane informed Holly that Ruth is about to have a major breakthrough about the night the two of you met. Also, Ruth describes a newborn with blonde hair and freckles, but she does not make the connection with her own infant son, Gabriel.

Jane and Holly proceeded down the hallway to Room 419. Upon arrival, Jane rapped on the door and told Ruth that she had a visitor. On the television was a soap opera, but Ruth turned it off when Jane entered her room. Becoming more anxious, Ruth wanted to know who the visitor was. Slowly Holly walked in the room. Then, Ruth excitedly stated that you are the Peer Specialist Holly and you are helping me find a new place to live. My therapist mentioned that you have good connections.

Jane excused herself because she had someone else to see. Explaining stuff with Holly, Ruth said that she might be leaving here soon and heading to a place called Generations Lodge. Last week, I was talking with a nice guy named Marty who looked familiar but could not figure out why. He asked me lots of questions and Jane was seated next to me for support. Both you and Jane are calm, quiet plus very helpful. When I leave here, will you come visit me, Holly? Not sure, Ruth, but I will think about it. At that point, Holly left Ruth.

While they were talking, Holly and Jane noticed there was a sort of twinkle in Ruth’s eyes. Neither of them were sure what this meant, or has any significance, but they will check again. Holly went to her next consumer and finished her first day at work of the new year. She was tired, but she got home safe and sound.

Arriving at home, Andrew greeted Holly with a big smile and a huge hug. The siblings exchanged pleasantries and talked about their respective days. While Andrew spent in the morning surfing the internet and in the afternoon in the local library, Holly had a particularly busy day at work. Tomorrow is scheduled to be even more challenging but due to certain confidentiality agreements, Holly could not be specific. Andrew said he understood.

Tonight, Andrew was going to cook Chicken Carbonara with heavy garlic, salad and fresh garlic knots. Dinner will be ready at 7, so Holly had an hour and fifteen to shower and change into some comfortable clothes. Like most evenings at home, Andrew wanted to know more about some of the people Holly works with. Being a Peer Specialist and State Regulations, she cannot discuss anyone. In a generalized fashion she talked about  experiences with Ruth. Over the next couple of hours, they talked about Andrew’s plans for going skating in the park. Around 9:30 pm, Holly vegged in her bedroom, put on some music and tried to relax.


Monday turned into Tuesday as Holly was awakened by alarms at 6am. Regularly, this hour is when Holly gets up. After her morning routine, she grabbed a Boston Creme Donut and left for work. It is around 8:30 at the office, but Taylor has not arrived yet. This gave Holly the opportunity to confirm her appointments for later in the day. Her 2:30 and 3:30 confirmed, but her 4:15 is probably traveling to his place of employment, so Holly left a message.

Shortly after, Steve walked into the office and began talking with Holly. Also, he gave her a few messages, which included one from her 4pm appointment. It stated that he would rather be visited at 4:30pm. Holly thanked Steve and put the papers in her bag to call later.

As usual at 9 Taylor arrived right on time at the office. Taylor was glad that Holly was there before him. Before leaving for the police station, he had to make some administrative phone calls. With traffic, it would take about twenty minutes to drive there, so he had some time. During one of the conversations, he found out that one of the Assistant Peer Supervisors is leaving around later in the year and they are starting a search for a replacement.

While Holly was in the bathroom, Taylor screamed that we are leaving in exactly two minutes. She got her tablet and her notepad and they proceeded to the police station to meet with Officer Grey. On route, Taylor reminded Holly that was an update of their investigation of the rape and murder of an infant. Also in attendance will be the mayor and other local officials plus newspaper reporters, TV and radio personalities, so the conference room will be packed.

Last minute, the venue was changed. Everyone now gathered in the larger auditorium looking room which still was crowded, which was equipped with closed circuit cameras and several microphones. There are aqua colored walls that match one of the colors of the police cars and uniforms. Officer Grey officially began the meeting at 10:15 am. This get-together is an update about the rape of Ruth Haines and the murder of her infant son Gabriel.

After introducing the local assembly member and senator, the mayor, and an assortment of other dignitaries, Office Grey started. To everyone present, the police department is doing what it can to bring justice to Ruth Haines and her infant son. Due to the broken glass all over the apartment, the unknown attacker probably has cuts and visible scars on various places throughout his body. She was confused by what was. From the corner of her eye, Holly noticed Marty, manager of Generations Lodge Respite. Marty told Holly that Ruth had been accepted back to the Generations Lodge Community Residence, which is a block from the Respite. In addition, Holly found out Marty is the House Manager of both the respite and the community residence. Ruth’s tentative date to start is next Tuesday, but she will not be informed until Monday. So, Holly questioned Marty why and he explained that Jane will tell Ruth in my presence and we want to see her reaction. Holly and Marty separated and Holly met with Officer Grey and Taylor.

Also in the crowd, there was a mysterious looking woman. She was wearing a long brown raincoat, with a matching hat, which covered part of her face. Beneath the hat, she had mid-level brown hair. In addition, she apparently had a worried look about her as she quickly paced back and forth. When she sat, her legs kept switching positions and her hands were trembling fiercely. Actually, it was Ruth. It was good that no one recognized her, as she blended in with the mob at the police audience. Ruth was confused and she will discuss this with Jane on Friday.

Officer Grey said the police are getting close to finding out the real suspect. It was my Captain’s opinion that the media not be informed. We hope to bring another suspect next week when we verify some address information. Also, a lineup was requested, but since Ruth does not have full memories, this will not be required, at least for the present time. There were no fingerprints on any blunt instrument, but one shows a small indentation that has not been identified. Everyone agreed to meet at 10am Friday at the Mental Health Clinic.

After it was time for lunch, but Taylor had to cancel because of a staff meeting amongst all the Assistant Supervisors and Supervisors of Peer Specialists. Holly got a sub from one of the chain shops and spent the afternoon with her scheduled consumers. It was a good day and her three pm clients are doing well. Her main concern is still Ruth and the police that are searching for Ruth’s rapist. At that moment, Holly recalled what her dad frequently said, “Patience is a Virtue”.

(To start the story from the beginning, click here)

Random Act By a Peer Specialist:Part V…will be around soon. Keep reading.

See you in the Newsletters and NewsBlogs.

Howard Diamond is a Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island


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