Friend of man found dead in Mississippi River says he was homeless, not hopeless

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- A Davenport man wants to make sure people never forget his friend who drowned in the Mississippi River.

On Sunday 51-year-old Paul Domine's body was pulled from the river near Buffalo, Iowa. He happened to be homeless. But Domine's friends say just because he lived on the streets doesn't mean he didn't have hope for a brighter future.

All packed up, driver in position, it's time to hit the road and help. This isn't just any bus, it's Dwain Womack's supply closet on wheels.

"People can come right on the bus, pick what they need, and then they can leave," says Womack.

It started with a flicker of empathy.

"Homeless has a stigma to it, so when I meet people I tell them you are my street friend," says Womack.

That passion ignited when Womack met his first street friend, Paul Domine.

"Pauly had a quote. He said I'm homeless not hopeless," says Womack.

Womack would visit Pauly, bring him what he needed. The two talked on the phone a few weeks back, a call Pauly made from rehab with a sense of hope.

"He sounded so good. He told me he was in rehab, and he put on some weight, and he was feeling great. The next thing I knew, I saw an article in the paper about a guy in the river," says Womack.

A guy, now a body, pulled from the Mississippi River, identified as 51-year-old Paul Domine, a homeless man.

"Just because he was a guy that lived on the street doesn't mean he was hopeless. He was somebody," says Womack.

Now Womack is making it his mission to keep his friend's memory alive.

On Thursday, C.I. Signs & Apparel, Womack had a permanent decal put on his bus. It's a picture of his friend Pauly with his saying "I'm homeless not hopeless."

This isn't just any supply closet on wheels, now. To Womack, it's the memory of a friend.

"Here he is so he will be with me now wherever I go," says Womack.

And to everyone else who sees it, it's a reminder no matter who you are, there is hope.

"You can always have hope for a better future."

On Monday, August 5, there will be a memorial for Paul Domine at Le Claire Park in Davenport. It starts at 7 p.m. and everyone is invited to attend.

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