Monday, November 23, 2015

Old Man Johnson

I ran across this on Craigslist while looking for used building materials for my deer blind.

Homeless Veteran (Eaton Rapids)

I'm a homeless veteran in need of some materials to complete a closed in porch at my friends house where he has allowed me to stay in his trailer. So far I have scrounged most of what I need. However there are still items that I need to finish the porch. Perhaps you have extra building supplies left over taking up space in your garage or basement??? I sure could use what you no longer need. Even if they're partial pieces.
I don't have a vehicle with plates or insurance on it so coming to you would be difficult. But please think about what you may no longer need and text me, call me, email me. Whichever you prefer.
Look at the pic and you will see some of the items needed to finish.

I also need galvanized 16d nails, 2x4's, 2x6's, left hand entry door w/frame, right hand storm door w/frame parts, ACQ deck screws (prefer star drive or square drive if possible), insulation, and any white corrugated metal barn siding either whole or partial pieces. Lastly 6 inch chimney pipe for a wood stove. 
Thanks in advance,  P

Darn.  He is an Eaton Rapids guy.  That makes him my neighbor.

I swapped a few texts with him, picked up a couple of pounds of deck screws and dropped them off.

He still needs a 36", left hand entry door, 36" right hand storm door, 2X4s, 1-1/2" expanded polystyrene insulation and fiberglass insulation.

He let me take a few pictures while I was there.

Fifteen feet by seven feet. He has made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks.
A sixteen year old dog.  An old wood stove.  It does not take much to heat that small of a space.  Trailer on the right side of photo is sixteen feet long and is where he sleeps.  I could see this as a sauna and the trailer as a changing room after Mr Johnson's fortunes take a turn for the better.
I thought his workmanship was outstanding.  Way better than I can do.
He told me that he was a contractor before the economy locked up.  One thing led to another.  His home and his family were collateral damages.  One of his issues is that he has repetitive motion trauma (tennis elbow) that slows down his ability to work.  That is pretty common in older carpenters.  That phone number is still current if you want to send him a text and help him out.
He has a post in his "porch" where he writes the initials of people who have donated materials.  He prays for them every day.  He was pretty talkative.  It was notable that he did not have a shred of self-pity, but then you expect that of people with trucks sporting USMC license plates.

There are compensations.  The view is excellent and the fishing is good.  He caught a 34" Northern Pike the other day.

View to the south
View looking west.  Rope swing on left side of picture.  Fishing dock on right side.
View looking east.
And his horse eats no hay and drinks no gas.


  1. I'd help him out if I could, I have some leftover insulation in my attic from another project. The kids and I would like to help. Anything he could use from afar? Gift cards to local establishments for building supplies or daily necessities?

  2. I want to see what we can do locally. Fast Eddie (Fullback, Eaton Rapids class of 1959, Air Force 1960-64) is in the salvage business. He and his grandson "Horse" are sorting through his pole barn looking for a couple of doors.

    My State representative is Tom Barrett and he is a Gulf War Vet and he is all about connecting vets with benefits they earned. I sent one of him an email.

    The biggest thing "P" needs is to have the wheels at VA start turning and, perhaps, a few loads of stove wood dropped off. "P" really does not want much....just enough to get by for the time being.

    I bet there are at least 20,000 guys almost identical to "P" scattered around the country. Find one and give him a quilt...or firewood...or 50 pounds of rice.

  3. That's good of you to help him! We hand out blankets all winter long (I purchase them at the goodwill and launder them and keep them in stock). My husband is a sheriff's deputy and he always finds people to hand them out to, he keeps them in the trunk of his cruiser. Also we keep old clothes, coats, etc (again goodwill purchased)... in case we learn of someone in need. The kids and I try to find a specific person to help around the holidays, and we do it anonymously (or semi-anonymously) if possible. They've got a soft spot for veterans :-)

  4. We also do similar locally. I live in a mobile home park, and people always leave unwanted items near dumpsters for others to take and use. We often take clothing and wash and donate to rescue mission and to people we know that can use them. Also, often there are items like kitchen appliances and the like which I am able to repair and donate to people.
    My family growing up was never poor, we always had enough, but were never with a lot of extra money either. However, it sure seems like things today are a close copy of what was going on just before the Great Depression, from what I have read.
    Many people had lots of money, spending like there was no tomorrow, while on the fringes there were those who were struggling to get by, some not knowing where their next meal would come from.
    The biggest difference I see that is stopping a full on depression from happening is the government is artificially propping up the poor with fake money and social programs, created out of thin air.
    I have absolutely no problem with helping people out in bad times. My grandparents received food from the FDA program before they decided that food stamps were a better, more productive method of distributing excess food from farmers to the needy. I have issues with that notion, I believe that it was just to create more agricultural megacorporations. But I am not an expert or an economist, just some who witnessed the good that food distribution did and the harm that the Bridge Cards have sometimes caused.
    I realize this is a leap from your post, but I am just trying to say that I really support your efforts to help out locally, and believe that is probably the best solution for most of the humanitarian aid in this country. If we could somehow channel the money from the Fed. Gov. down to the local level, and let localities distribute it as it is really needed instead of using it as a political tool, it would go a lot further to eliminate hunger and despair in this country.
    I know that God will bless everyone of you who are helping out not only this one man, but also those many other unnamed people out there.
    Thank you to that Marine for his service to this country. May we one day prove to be as worthy as he.