Who is Fritz Dutter?
So who is Frederick “Fritz” Dutter? Fritz is a self described alcoholic, Buddhist, and chess master. A 57 y.o. Vietnam vet, who volunteered at the age of 17, only to return and spent time in a mental hospital due to PTSD. ” I was really messed up when I got back. I saw a lot of nasty shit when I was over there. I didn’t know how to handle it, how to deal. I needed help. After I got out I used to receive disability checks from social security because I had a hard time coping. I really wasn’t functional! I turned to alcohol to numb the pain and the memories. But then one-day social security cut me off saying I wasn’t disabled just an alcoholic. So I ended up on the streets. I’ve been here for 30 plus years now. It’s not so bad”
Unfortunately, Fritz’s story is a familiar one. A Veteran, who has been failed by the system after he risked his life defending our freedoms. Visit fstoppers.com for an inspiring story on one man’s journey to bring attention to homeless vets.
I find Fritz to be funny, sometimes erratic, spiritual, and at times truly insightful. He has given me the gift of perspective. He has taught me to appreciate the simple things in life and not sweat the small stuff. Problems are perceptions of the mind! Simply put, they are created by unmet and sometimes unreasonable expectations. Wise words from a man living on the streets! I often remind myself, compared to his world, what problems do I truly have? But then again who is more at peace. He seems to be unencumbered by the day-to-day stresses that make up our lives. This is not to say that Fritz is the second coming of Buddha. At times he can be inpatient, irrational, and quick tempered. When reminded of his Buddhist beliefs he simply replies, “Hey, I never claimed to have it all figured out.” I guess holding onto ideals in the real world has challenges for all of us.
Fritz doesn’t really understand my world and I’m just beginning to understand his. Job, mortgage, responsibility and trust are foreign concepts. For the first three months, our semi-weekly meetings started with the same conversation; “I didn’t think you were coming ” and ” I don’t understand why you are doing this. Why do you care?” At times, Fritz has been hard on our friendship, testing the limits of my commitment. Perhaps it’s easier to believe that no one can be trusted then to trust and be disappointed. But Fritz has trusted me enough to open his heart, his mind and his world to me. He has given me instant credibility in the shelter less community and for that I am truly thankful.
Fritz spends his mornings meditating by the river, then a run to the recycling center, followed by an afternoon flying his sign at some choice intersections looking for a handout. He’s really quite a showman when he gets on a corner. He truly knows how to work an audience.
Fritz can be very funny, he makes me laugh. His wit and responses at times can be treasures. When asked by a police officer if he was homeless, he responded ” No, I’m an outdoorsman!”
Until next time…
” Give freely of yourself to others for service is food for the soul”. And I might add you may be surprised at what you get in return.
Have you ever befriended a homeless person ? I would love to hear your story.
Tags: Blog, Fritz Dutter, Homeless, Souls Not Forgotten