Selfless Act Ends in Tragedy

by Jennifer Weir

According to co-workers, Anthony Ricks was a well-liked man. His wife, Teresa Ricks, characterized him as a loving man who wanted the best for his family. besides being a husband and a full-time father of three children, he worked three jobs – as a security guard, with a mobile crisis team, and as an assistant at the Bishop Cosgrove meal site.

On the evening of June 3, 1995, according to police reports, Ricks picked up a man whom he thought was in need. His wife said it was natural for Ricks to help someone. “Tony had a very open heart and felt, O.K. this gentleman’s in need or maybe he needs a place to sleep, or he just needs a ride “cause he’s tired. He just opened his heart and gave it,” said Mrs. Ricks. The individual offered a ride took out a gun to rob Ricks. There was a struggle inside the car and both men were shot. Ricks later died from the gunshot wounds.

Rick’s coworkers describe him as an independently hard-working man, someone who was a kind and decent individual. Richard Oliver, program manager of the Adult Mobile Crisis Intervention Team, recalled Rick’s ability to “balance the team with supportive interactions” through his love of helping others.

Cynthia Chaytor, also of the Adult Mobile Crisis Intervention Team recalls how “Tony would bring pastries to work every night, never asking for anything in return. He was just that kind of guy.” She characterized this small act of kindness as an example of Ricks’ constant generosity.

Ron Reinhart from the Bishop Cosgrove Center said, “Anthony believed work and dedication was what it took to succeed. Anthony was just happy to make a living at what he liked to do.” He went on to say that Ricks was blessed with an upbeat and motivational attitude. These attributes were well received by his clients and co-workers.

The selfless act of picking someone up that needed a ride resulted in Rick’s death. Teresa Ricks assures us that her husband would have done the same thing over again, “just as long as he could help someone.”

Copyright and the Homeless Grapevine Issue 11, August-September 1995, Cleveland, Ohio