Dann McCarthy was an Eagle Scout, a college graduate, and a long-time Traverse City resident. When he worked, he worked long and hard. He also helped out many people, as a volunteer, as a friend, as a compassionate fellow human being. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend. He played Irish Music with TC Celtic. And yet . . .
He also suffered from severe Alcohol Use Disorder. He participated in intensive residential treatment programs. He sought substance abuse counseling. He tried Alcoholics Anonymous — several times. For whatever reasons, he was unable to walk the road to recovery. When he drank, he also drank long and hard. As a result, he repeatedly experienced homelessness. On the street he was known as “Irish Dann.” In 2011 he lost all ten toes to frostbite, while sleeping outside in the winter.
Notwithstanding his loss and his recurring bouts of hard drinking, Dann continued to have a positive impact on our community.
Dann lived a life of service to others. After spending time in a nursing home to recuperate from the loss of his toes, he returned to volunteer and help other residents. He also volunteered at Jubilee House, a day shelter operated by Grace Episcopal Church, where he spent time when he was experiencing homelessness. Dann volunteered at his church, at a community theatre, and with the Ancient Order of Hibernians (an Irish service organization).
Proud of his Irish heritage, Dann participated in a Celtic music group, playing his bodhran (an Irish drum) and singing. He was dedicated to his family and was especially proud of his nieces and all their accomplishments.
In the last year of his life, he received the Goodwill Achiever of the Year award. In the video below he is quoted as saying,
Be Strong. Be True. Be Helpful.