Fort Wayne, IN
United States
Lindenwood Cemetery, near Lindenwood Ave. entrance Northeast Indiana AIDS Memorial since 30 September 2004
45 names
2 bricks laid at AIDS Memorial
‘It's hard to change attitudes,' says one patient
“If it hadn't been for Fred, I never would have left the house after I was diagnosed,” confided Bill Leisman, nodding to the man standing next to him, Fred Steinke. Leisman and Steinke were both at the Northeast Indiana AIDS Memorial brick ceremony Thursday afternoon at Lindenwood Cemetery. The two, both of whom have AIDS, were on hand to see their bricks put into the AIDS Memorial walkway. “Fred was a driver for the AIDS Task Force when I was diagnosed in 2000, and he drove me to my first doctor's appointment,” Leisman said. Steinke, diagnosed in 1983, is now on oxygen. The large green tank at his side is a constant reminder of his failing health. He leaned heavily on a decorative statue as he reflected. “The hardest thing to deal with is the alienation. It's really hard to change attitudes.”
Fewer than 10 people, including those who spoke, were present to witness the laying of the bricks. Michael W. Cunegin II, superintendent of Chain O'Lakes Correctional Facility, spoke of the tragedy of the disease. The Rev. Ken Westra of Pathway Community Church said an opening and closing prayer, and soloist Jennifer Babcock provided music.
Otis Vincent, founder and president of the nonprofit Northeast Indiana AIDS Memorial, designed and put together the memorial, a dream he had had since his son died of AIDS in 1995. The memorial opened in 2004, and is the second in the state; the other is in Indianapolis.
Photo (C) Ellie Bogue

2 October 2009
Ellie Bogue, Fort Wayne