By Jim Newell
Bruce Gertz – known locally by most people simply as Bruce – is getting a place to stay for the cold winter months.
“We have secured him a warm place for the winter,” said Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh, adding that the place “is being made ready” with some minor repairs and Gertz should be able to move in in the next week or so.
“And that’s a time effort on the part of a lot of people to help Bruce,” Narsh said.
Gertz agreed to giving power of attorney to a local resident to look out for his welfare. Together with the Narsh and other individuals, they are working to get Gertz social security so that he can pay for his winter residence and living expenses.
“Really, Bruce is providing for himself,” Narsh said.
Narsh did not want to disclose where Gertz will be living, saying that Gertz needs some privacy.
If he wishes, Gertz can still spend his days on the bench along M-24 near Atwater Street where he currently has taken up residence.
“But he’ll have a safe, warm place at night to sleep and keep his belongings,” Narsh said.
Anyone who would like to contribute toward supplies for Gertz can check the Bruce of Orion Facebook page. Gertz’s caretaker provides regular updates on the site about any supplies he may need.
Gertz currently has extra sleeping bags, a face mask, heavy warm socks and hand warmers, according to the Bruce of Orion Facebook page.
“To the kind people who like to buy him food and drop it off to him – he likes hot chocolate, not coffee. If you bring him hot chocolate, you’ll get a smile,” Narsh said.
The village began working on finding lodging for Gertz in August after some residents questioned his safety on a bench along M-24 and the appearance of Gertz taking up residence at the gateway to the village.
Gertz, who is in his mid- to late-sixties, has roamed the Orion area for nearly 20 years.