George and Mimi Limbach left their Drexel Hill home Wednesday morning and headed not to George’s job as a financial advisory firm executive in Conshohocken, not to visit any of their six grown children, but to a warehouse a half hour away that they rent in Philadelphia’s Germantown section.
At 8:30 on the dot, George, 66, and Mimi, 65, sat in two of about 20 mismatched chairs in a circle inside a cramped room inside PAR Recycle-Works on East Walnut Lane. Then, over coffee and doughnuts, 11 former prison inmates spoke about “accountability.”
“I don’t blame nobody,” said 30-year-old Al Butcher, who did time on a burglary conviction while on drugs and while trying to provide for his two kids and the two children left behind by his dead brother. Al would soon be on the warehouse floor, taking apart old computers being scrapped by law firms, schools, and municipalities for $12.20 an hour. No one would be judging anyone else. Everyone there had made terrible mistakes but were now in search of a new way.
“I can’t change what I did," Al said. "I can only change what I’m doing now. Better myself moving forward.”
Most people, even those who proclaim themselves devout Christians, don’t bother to sweat while giving back to the world — if they give back at all. But the Limbachs have rejected the caustic hypocrisy of our age, in which far too many are complicit in denigrating the poor.
The Limbachs are living an ethos of helping people and doing so in the trenches. It is a striking humanism that has gone out of vogue in our age of acrimony, resentment, and hoarding of wealth. I heard about them from a former professor of mine who knew them in Narberth, where they raised their kids before moving to Drexel Hill.
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