Walter came to Murray House, Paterson, in 1972 after his mother passed away. We never knew exactly how old Walter was, but somewhere in his 60’s was everyone’s best guess.
Walter did not speak very much, but one of the few phrases that he mastered was, “None of Your Business”, which was his response to most questions asked of him; including: “How old are you?”
Walter was quite a character and had a great sense of humor. He had qualities that brought out the best in everyone.
During the summer of 1973, Walter moved to one of our programs in Jefferson Township. One of his favorite tasks to do around the house was to check the mail. It was an essential part of his daily routine. It was his job and his job alone. He would check the mail several times a day and took great pride in bringing the mail home and handing it out to his housemates.
One hot summer day, Walter went to the mailbox and came back with quite a surprise – in his arms he cradled a newborn infant, hours old, wrapped in an old army blanket!
The police were immediately called. It was a miracle; Walter saved this beautiful newborn’s life. It was something we never forgot, and it was certainly something that Walter never forgot.
After the shock wore off, Walter was furious and would often say, “They took my baby; where is she?” He never did quite understand and was always a little suspicious. All we ever really knew after that was that the baby was fine and that she was adopted.
Twenty one years later, on December 29, 1994, a woman (the Baby) came to Jefferson Township. She had a news-clipping from 21 years prior that her adoptive parents had given her. She introduced herself to us and was elated to meet the people that were there at the time.
She was a pre-med student in an Ivy League school. She was so happy to hear the story of Walter and to know that he saved her life. We know that Walter is smiling down on “his baby” and the DPD Family from heaven!
When Walter was born, doctor’s told his parents to institutionalize him and that he would never “thrive.”
Walter’s Story epitomizes the important work of Catholic Charities. Walter’s Story teaches us that every life is to be cherished and that we are all valuable in the eyes of God. Walter’s Story inspires us to help those in need.
read more from Catholic Charities: