Join KING 5 Emcee, Margaret Larson at the 2013 Seattle AIDS Walk
Bob Engelbert and Bob Klein share a lot. There’s the obvious – they have the same first name. But it goes much further than that. They’re happily married to one another, they both have inspiringly positive attitudes and they’re both very passionate about supporting Lifelong and the services it offers to people living with HIV/AIDS.
In fact one of the Bobs, as they are affectionately called by friends and family, has missed only one Seattle AIDS Walk since they began in 1987. That’s right. Bob Klein has a near perfect record in Seattle AIDS Walk attendance.
Bob K. works in the Seattle City Planning Department. His partner, Bob Engelbert, is a retired purchasing agent for a liquor and wine distributor. He is also one of Lifelong’s most dedicated volunteers, and frequently works at the front desk greeting to provide a friendly face to those who walk through Lifelong’s front door.
Bob E. knows first-hand the toll that HIV takes on a person’s health. Not only does he live with HIV himself, but his former partner, Mike, passed away as a result of HIV/AIDS in 1993. He says that was an exhausting time in his life.
“I realized that I had to move on,” he said. “I had the gift of one more day. It would be somehow unethical to live each day to anything less than its fullest.”
Bob E. wants to make sure people know that even though people are living longer with HIV, the high expense of living with the disease as well as the physical and emotional toll it takes on you has not changed. He also encourages the community to have compassion for people living with this disease. They have names. They are people. It doesn’t matter how they contracted HIV.
That’s why supporting organizations like Lifelong is so important, Bob E. says. In addition to providing clients with basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing, Lifelong provides emotional support that is so critical. Lifelong provides a friendly face as well as the occasional hug.
The Bobs were married in August, only a couple months after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple asked that their guests donate to their Seattle AIDS Walk team. This has brought in $1,430 for their team, and the total continues to climb.
Compassion motivates the Bobs’ support of Lifelong. “The folks who Lifelong serves experience sadness and joy just like you or me. When you recognize that, you can’t help but feel compassion.”
You can support the Bobs’ fundraising efforts by donating to their Seattle AIDS Walk fundraising page. Visit www.SeattleAIDSWalk.org, click “SPONSOR A WALKER” and search “Bob Klein.”