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Many claim to be public servants, but few do work that has as concrete an impact as Ryan Loofbourrow's work has.
No, you didn't vote for him, and you won't see him in the news cutting ribbons, opining on politics or taking credit for this or that civic improvement.
But if you live or visit downtown Sacramento, Loofbourrow's work with the homeless, the mentally ill, public drunks and runaway teens has made the central business district safer, quieter and cleaner for 16 years.
And now he's leaving, for a job in San Diego.
Loofbourrow, who was profiled in The Sacramento Press earlier this year, is the director of community services for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. It has been his job to work with those on the bottom of society, people who nearly everyone else walks past with irritation, pity or fear.
He created and has been been in charge of the yellow-jacketed Downtown Guides, who are scattered around downtown to help answer questions and direct visitors to their destinations, and the blue-jacketed Navigators, who work with serial inebriates and others.
Loofbourrow knows most of the latter by name. He has worked to get public inebriates into the drunk tank, the mentally ill into treatment programs or safe housing, and runaways out of dangerous vacant buildings and into what social services remain after years of budget cuts. His programs are credited with, among other things, reducing the number of serial inebriates by as much as 80 percent since 2005.
The tall, lanky and smiling Loofbourrow combines an openness and accessibility with a no-nonsense demeanor that has served him well with his problematic charges. And he has served Sacramento well.
Perhaps above all, Loofbourrow's expertise lies in his ability to see what the average person can't: That there are different kinds of homelessness, that there are as many personal problems as there are personalities and that everyone should be treated with respect and approached with an optimism that at least SOME help can be given to anyone.
"They are all individuals," he told The Sacramento Press late last year.
Loofbourrow himself is an individual who will be difficult to replace. But through the programs he founded, and the environment he helped create throughout the downtown area, his influence will live on long past his departure.