David Strahan

David Strahan. Photo by Paul Neevel.

David Strahan grew up in Southern California, a few blocks away from Disneyland. “Four days after my high school graduation,” he relates, “I grabbed the car keys and headed north to find the brothers I’d been separated from in childhood. When our mom left our birth father, I was a latchkey kid. My new father was brutal.” Strahan moved in with his brother in Springfield, Oregon, and worked 23 years for Kingsford Charcoal, ascending the jobs ladder. He got married in the ’90s, and his wife’s son from a previous marriage was killed in Iraq in 2004. “Kingsford fought me when I went out to lower the flag,” he says, “so I quit that job and went back to school for a state electrical license. My first job was three years at Riverbend Hospital.” In addition to electrical contracts, Strahan ran storage auctions and began volunteering with local agencies, including riverbank cleanups with Willamette Riverkeeper. “I met homeless veterans living in unsanitary conditions,” he reports, “and I picked up dilapidated RVs super cheap at auctions. I restored them to livable condition for a veteran in someone’s driveway.” In 2013 he cut back on paid electrical work to fix RVs, one at a time, in his Springfield cul-de-sac. “The neighbors were very forgiving,” he notes. “I’ve lost track, but I estimate that 50 RVs went to around 60 families.” In 2020, the nonprofit Carry It Forward, devoted to serving the homeless in Lane County, offered Strahan a location in west Eugene with room for numerous vehicles, a shared office building and a name for his enterprise: Hope on Wheels. “I gained a huge advantage,” Strahan says. “Now I don’t have to deal with triage of incoming clients. It reduces my cardiac load. I recently survived a quadruple bypass. I was a one-man band with Hope on Wheels before Carry it Forward. Now I hope it can become a national model.” To learn more, visit the Hope on Wheels Facebook page.

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