‘This Person Is a Person’

by Robert Larios, CEO, The Club

Robert Larios

When Jessica Mertlich – neither a Club Member nor an LA resident – emailed the Club last November, one of the first thoughts I had was: Angels Flight. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Jessica had just found her long-lost brother, Troy Mertlich, in a “People We See” feature created by Association CEO John Hawkins. He had interviewed Troy in 2015.

(“People We See” is the Club’s series of interviews of those who live on the streets of Los Angeles. They have names, stories, tragedies and sometimes wisdom, just like the rest of us.)

John’s interview with Troy was the 70th in the series. This month’s “People We See” is the 108th. And yet John remembered Troy immediately from eight years ago. Our editor, John Burnes, also remembered Troy. I did, too – I last saw him years ago sitting on the ground near Angels Flight downtown.

John Hawkins told Jessica why he interviewed the homeless, including her brother. He said: “This person is a person.” It is as simple as that.

I like to think that Troy sitting next to Angels Flight is meaningful: After at least two decades living on the streets, he still knew his family — and strangers like us who saw him there – didn’t forget about him before he took his final flight to the angels. Truly no one is ever forgotten.

Thank You, Sgt: I congratulate Sgt. Belinda Nettles on her retirement from Airport Police after 34 years of City service. When we restarted Alive! more than 20 years ago, we needed contacts to help us tell the good-news stories of City employees. Sgt. Nettles proved cheerful and very helpful in telling those stories from her department. Thank you, Sgt. Nettles. We wish you a happy retirement.


An Anniversary:

In 1998, I started my first job after college at the Los Angeles City Employees Association, Inc. and the Employees Club of California. I was 22 years old and had no idea what I was doing. Twenty-five years later, I’m celebrating my silver anniversary at the same organization.
I have learned many lessons over the years, but the four that stand out to me on this special anniversary are:

  1. Be grateful for what you have rather than dwelling on the things you do not have.
  2. Save the people rather than saving the numbers. Put people before profits.
  3. The path to your fulfillment includes actions that have meaning, relevance and contribution.
  4. A support network is important for success in life.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey. I look forward to serving you now and well into the future.


¡Gracias por leer!