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    Posted February 4, 2014 by
    Cleveland, Ohio
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

    My friend and coworker, Stephen Halton Jr.


    I have been a resident of Cleveland, Ohio for two years now. I have also been a Nurse Anesthetist at the Cleveland Clinic for three years, and prior to getting my masters degree, I worked as an RN at the Clinic for three years. I have deep roots in Cleveland and love this city, and plan to stay for quite some time. Unfortunately and lately, there are so many sad stories coming out of Cleveland. I want to share another one of them with CNN.


    My coworker and friend, Stephen Halton Jr. was killed early Saturday morning, January 11. At this time, it appears a gun shot wound to the shoulder killed him, and he was found dead at the scene, his body on the sidewalk of Lake Shore Blvd on the east side of Cleveland. I read about this before Stephen was identified and thought it was another sad typical Cleveland story. And when I found out it was Stephen, I became so angry. That this happened. That it was my friend. That it happened to such a great guy. And that it didn't really alarm me until I knew more.


    I want you to know about Stephen, or Steve as he was known by many of his friends and coworkers. Steve was an Anesthesia Tech at the Cleveland Clinic. Every day Steve did things at work to help Nurse Anesthetists, Anesthesiologists, and Residents. He set up IVs, brought in supplies, ran blood samples to the lab, and delivered blood products to the OR. He always did his job with a smile on his face, and you knew his smile was there even when he had on a surgical mask. You could see it in his eyes. As a new employee, I often requested supplies in my OR that were already there, I just couldn't find them, and Steve would come in the room and politely show me what I needed, never acting impatient. He would just laugh and tell me he's there to help.


    When Steve was killed, he was on his way to work, called in for a liver transplant. Steve would have been busy that night, helping the anesthetist with supply set up, and most likely going back and forth to the blood bank for life saving blood products. He would have been working hard and as always, thankful for his job, his life. This would be one of Steve's last shifts as he had recently accepted a job within the Cleveland Clinic in the IT Department. Steve had been going to school for IT while working in the anesthesia department and this new job was something he was very excited about.


    One look at Steve's Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter will tell you a lot about him. He was great with computers. He maintained the website for Bethlehem Temple of Praise Church, where his father, Stephen Sr., is Pastor. His Instagram and Facebook are full of inspirational quotes and bible verses. His social media pages clearly show what a family man he was. There are many pictures of Steve with his father and mother, Lady Sheila Halton, involved in their church and community activities. Every picture has that infectious smile. There are photos of his sister, who he was clearly close with.


    And then there's Steve's wife. And his kids. His beautiful family. I didn't know them personally, but he loved to talk about them at work. A wife with a smile just as beautiful as his. I am not a religious person but in Steve and the pictures of his family you certainly see The Lord. His son is only five, daughter just three. I hope and pray they will know what a wonderful man Steve was.


    I guess I just want someone to know this. To not read about his death and wonder why he was going out at 4 AM. To maybe in some way know this man, who he was. To maybe stir up some change in our community. Is our city healthy? Can it be healthy when it's so unsafe? Steve and I work(ed) for a place that is an agent for change. Employees can't smoke, exercise is very encouraged, there is no soda on campus, yet this happens. Can we really be healthy when our community is not?


    I just want people to think...and to know. And to know that behind every crime there's a story. I don't want Cleveland to get used to or numb to this sort of thing.


    And I want answers. I want to find the people that did this. Find out why. And hopefully forgive them at some point. And I want them to know what they did, how many lives they've turned around, and what they're doing to our city.

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