Robb’s Life Chapter 28 – Hanging Drywall and Robb’s Final Thanksgiving

Robb at Thanksgiving, 1995.

Robb at Thanksgiving, 1995.

Twenty years ago this week, Robb was racing to renovate the abandoned house in Rock Island into a shelter for homeless HIV and AIDS clients. Along with his father, Lorney, and a friend, Ray Williams, Robb was hanging drywall and doing other work to make the old house inhabitable.

This would be Robb’s final Thanksgiving, and he was amazed that he was still alive and feeling well enough to hang drywall.

I remember shooting this piece very clearly, and when I was editing, I noticed there was a look in Robb’s eyes that had not been there a few months earlier. It was the look of someone who is sick, whose body is struggling. But when he smiled, his eyes sparkled as they always did. It was clear that he was not smiling as often these days.

Renovating the interior of what would be known as "Robb's House."

Renovating the interior of what would be known as “Robb’s House.” Ray Williams is on the left. 

But Robb was focused intensely on providing shelter for homeless HIV and AIDS clients — people who were less fortunate than he — so he was pouring his limited energy into the DeLaCerda House. Twenty years later, his work is still doing a lot of good in our community.

After all these years, you can still help, and that is the reason that we are honoring Robb’s memory during this 20th anniversary year of Robb’s Life. Please help keep Robb’s legacy alive by donating, even just a few dollars, to the DeLaCerda House. Just go to their website at and click on the “Donate” button on the right side of the page.

And don’t miss WHBF-TV’s special news series this week updating Robb’s Life 20 years later. Watch WHBF Local 4 News at 10:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 23, 24 and 25.

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