The victim of the fatal van fire in Huntsville is being remembered by those at the Table Soup Kitchen. President Heather Berg calls Paul Michael Fenc, more commonly known as “JC”, a sweet man. She says he was always joyful, encouraging, a good friend, and a genuine, great guy.

Berg says JC was helped by a lot of people over the years, as he struggled with mental health and addiction. But, she says that help unfortunately never stuck. She says he was a regular around the Table Soup Kitchen, and was looking to know when the men’s shelter was going to be open.

Berg saw JC the Friday before the fire, as he came for some supplies and food. He was only wearing one boot at the time, but wouldn’t accept another pair of shoes, as he said he was pretty sure his other boot was back at his camp site. And, Berg says that was the last she saw of him.

She says his friends are hugely grieving, and are angry the shelter wasn’t open because it could have meant JC would have had a place to go that night.

Now, Berg says they have plans to name a bed after JC when the men’s shelter does open.

Berg says there are no set dates yet for when the shelter will be open, as they are waiting on some red tape to clear.

There is now a petition making the rounds online, pushing Huntsville to open the shelter as soon as possible. Berg says those looking to help support the shelter can donate or volunteer their time. Go to the men’s shelter website for more details.

Berg says everyone at the shelter is sending condolences to JC’s friends, family, and anyone who knew him. She says they are absolutely devastated he had to die.

However, she says she hopes the energy and emotions that people have behind this are put to good use, so JC’s death is not in vain. She says helping the shelter to be a success will go a long way to making that happen.