Focusing on friendship

by Josh Roberts

“Friendship is at the heart of everything we do,” Larry James, the CEO of CitySquare in Dallas said to my companions and me, “it’s lasting. When we’re friends, it means I’ll be there for you for life.”

Ann Langston, Craig Strickland, and I went to Dallas to learn from what CitySquare is doing for homeless people and to fight poverty in their area and to explore ways ECHO might work with them or support their efforts. Mr. James was gracious enough to spend an entire day and the better part of the next morning with us – on the day of their 30th anniversary, no less! – taking us on a tour of their housing, low-income housing, work training, food bank, and other facilities. The breadth of CitySquare’s services, the professionalism of the execution, and the warmth of the community was inspiring.

But what will stick with me always is how Larry James embodied friendship in every interaction.

There was a rhythm to walking through the CitySquare facilities with Mr. James. Faces lit up when he entered the room, a wave of smiles followed him everywhere.  Several people – staff and clients – stopped him to talk and he took great care in doing so and seemed to know something specific and personal about everyone. He exemplifies friendship and it shows in how CitySquare operates.

We all wish great health for our friends. We don’t consider whether or not they can afford it, or if they have a pre-existing condition in hoping our friends live happy and fulfilling lives. ECHO can follow the example of Larry James and treat the ministries and medical providers we serve, and the people they deliver high-quality healthcare to, as our friends. We wish them all great health.

Though I spent just a day and a half with Larry James, I know he is my friend and ECHO will be a better organization for it.