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Popular ‘Mr. Pete’ ready to be back on the street

Local character and downtown fixture Pete Byrd got three weeksaway from the rat race after having a bout with dehydration, but hewas given a clean bill of health Wednesday and sent back out intothe world.

“We’re sad to see him go, but glad he’s well enough to get to gohome,” said Countrybrook Living Center Director of Nursing LawandaWelch.

“Mr. Pete,” as the downtown delivery man is affectionately knownto members of the community, was hospitalized after he was foundslumped over on a hot day three weeks ago. Hospital officials saidhe was dehydrated in the summer heat.

Byrd said it was a relaxing stay, but he was ready to hit thestreets again. Byrd, 79, was released from Countrybrook lateWednesday afternoon.

“All the people that work here, they’ve done good,” he said. “Intherapy, anything they started doing, I’d do. I didn’t say a wordbecause I wanted to get well.”

While Byrd was a resident of Countrybrook, he suspended hisdelivery service. He could regularly be seen on downtown streets onhis motorized scooter, running things from place to place forpeople who appreciated his services.

He said he’s not sure he’ll go back to delivery, though.

“Not until I get well,” he said. “And the Lord told me somethingelse to do after a while.”

Byrd said, though, his new assignment isn’t one he wants to makepublic just yet. He said, too, that he has missed the everydayinteraction that comes from being on the streets in downtown.

“I enjoyed going to see a lot of people,” he said. “But I knewsome people here, and I had a good nurse, she was always right ontime.”

And the people at Countrybrook had a blast with “Mr. Pete,”too.

They said he was a good tenant, as well as a littleunpredictable. Byrd said there was one instance where he frightenedone nurse as he spent time with God.

“I got on my knees and went to praying, and she came in andsaid, ‘Mr. Pete, what’s the matter,’ but I was just praying,” hesaid with a smile.