Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.

Impact: You helped DJ Larry “SirLES” Sullivan move to a new apartment

Posted by Gordon Mayer on Nov 4, 2019 11:01:06 AM

Your support provided movers to someone who’s an expert on helping people move, himself. 

“I was one of those guys that liked to be dancing and clowning around in the family,” jokes Lawrence Elliot Sullivan – Larry to his friends.  By the time he got to Hyde Park High School in the mid-1960s, that had become a serious hobby.

“I was spinning records out here at a young age,” he says. “Some guy had rented a place out on South Stony Island Avenue and called it Teen-ville, where kids could go to dance.  I volunteered to play the records and he said, ‘Go ahead and bring your music.’” Inspired by the TV show American Bandstand, Sullivan played music his friends and classmates liked to dance to.

He followed his older brother Herman into the ROTC program at Hyde Park High.  He remembers meeting his brother’s friend and fellow Hyde Park grad Jesse Brown, the future Veterans Affairs cabinet member for whom the West Side VA medical center is named.  Like Brown and his brother, Sullivan enlisted, serving active duty in the Army in Vietnam and Germany for eight years.

Back in Chicago after his service, it was a natural to start up DJ-ing again.  It became a job and then a career, as he joined a firm that entertained at parties across the city and even out of state on occasion.  For a professional name, he chose his initials, LES (pronounced Les). As he became better known, Sullivan recalls, someone added the “Sir” on the front – making him DJ SirLES.

It was hard on his family life, Sullivan recalls: “I was in the clubs too much, but it was paying the rent.”  At the same time, he fondly recalls meeting well-known performers like the Chi-Lites and others.  

He still had a regular set at a club on 83rd Street two years ago, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Sullivan had to carry a portable oxygen tank to go out and eventually just getting downstairs was hard.  

A social worker at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, where Sullivan receives care, helped him find a new apartment in an elevator building and a volunteer at the VA told him about H.O.M.E.  “I’m feeling like, I got this danged disease, nothing’s going right for me,” Sullivan says. “I was worried I was doomed... but I’m even feeling better over here than I’ve felt in a good while.”

SirLES is on the move again – with your support, and some help from H.O.M.E. 

This blog post is part of our Voices from H.O.M.E. impact series. Watch for the stories all month long as we prepare for Giving Tuesday 2019.  We hope you will like and share them! The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season. H.O.M.E. has also joined the #ILGive movement to celebrate Giving Tuesday.

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Topics: Giving Tuesday, philanthropy, impact, Moving Program, ILgive