Rick West, a long-term member of Grand Avenue Club, died in the early days of the pandemic in Milwaukee. He was a cherished GAC member and a very dear man who contributed mightily to our Clubhouse. Rick's "home-base unit," where he could be found often, was our second floor Culinary Unit.

Rick was also an early participant in GAC's Employment Program, completing a Transitional Employment position at a large Milwaukee supermarket. His pride in his work success was palpable, even after the passage of time.

Rick's life was filled with formidable challenges that were directly related to his mental illness and the living conditions that he confronted in Milwaukee after his release were very challenging.

Rick's circumstances have provoked a great deal of thinking in our community about our society's response to people in his situation, people whose struggles with mental illness lead to criminal charges, prison sentences, and, often enough, harsh living conditions.

Rick died shortly after he completed a 15 year sentence at the Racine Penitentiary.

Rick had friends in the community, in prison, and here at GAC. We have invited several of them to speak at a memorial service that will honor the memory of our friend and colleague.

The Grand Avenue Club community invites you to a memorial service for Rick West.

Where: Gallery Grand on the 4th floor of Grand Avenue Club at 210 E. Michigan St., Milwaukee, WI. Please enter our building through the Michigan Street entrance and bring a mask.

When: Friday, September 17, 2021 from 3:30-4:30pm.

The service will be lead by Brother Jerry Smith of Capuchin Community Services.

Light refreshments will be served.

Parking is available at Chase Tower Group, 3rd floor, 525 W. Water Street. Or Interstate Parking on Michigan and Broadway.

RSVP to rzforman@yahoo.com.
Above: Rick West in GAC's Culinary Unit, having a much needed break with Lady, a fur friend/colleague.
Above: Rick (left) and friends setting out a Halloween recreation dinner buffet for colleagues.
Above: Rick sharing his certificate of completion with his colleagues at a GAC employment reception.
Above: Rick taking a break in front of the Culinary Unit task board.
Above: Rick with (l-r) Rhonda Gatlin-Hayes, Rachel Forman, and Pamela Wittenberg, his Transitional Employment placement managers at Milwaukee's Stop 'N Shop.

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club