More than 100 people have banded together to raise money for a man many have driven past on a popular street corner in Soldotna advertising his windshield repair services.
Dave Waldal recently fell on hard times after his well-known briefcase filled with windshield repair tools was stolen from behind the O’Reilly Auto Parts building on May 4, Soldotna resident David McCamon said.
Passers-by will remember Waldal usually dressed in camouflaged clothing with his black dog “Yankee” near the entrance to Fred Meyer. Waldal usually fixes window chips in the Fred Meyer or O’Reilly parking lot.
McCamon, 45, assistant manager at O’Reilly, is helping to spearhead an effort to raise about $2,000 to buy Waldal a new kit.
“I’m not the type that normally gets involved with this other than I’ll give money, but just the look in his eyes,” McCamon said. “He lost his world.”
As of late Friday evening, a Facebook group called “Donate for Dave” had 176 members. McCamon said a 90-day donation account at Alaska USA bank has been established and since Monday morning about $1,300 has been contributed. The account number is 1680372. The Facebook group is www.facebook.com/groups/232119256893001.
The group hopes to raise $2,000 or more. That would buy Waldal the “best kit available,” McCamon said.
Waldal was interviewed in an Oct. 6, 2011 Clarion article about how residents used their Permanent Fund Dividend check. He said he used his to purchase a tank of propane, a hose, and a heater to get him through the winter. The former heavy equipment mechanic in his 50s said he chooses to live in a tent in the woods.
“Why pay rent?” he said with a laugh.
Waldal usually lives in either Homer, Soldotna or Valdez depending on the time of the year, McCamon said. He said he sees Waldal most days and has become good friends with the man who he stressed isn’t panhandling and never begs for food or money.
“It gives him purpose,” McCamon said of Waldal’s windshield work. “He is a good guy. He is not out there begging. He is working for his living.”
McCamon recently told Waldal of the Facebook group’s effort to get him a new kit. Even though McCamon isn’t a “touchy-feely” guy, he said the situation has already moved him.
“He found out yesterday that we are doing this and even one of the young kids that works with me, he goes, ‘I can spend my whole life and never see that again — a man in total humility,’” McCamon said. “When he found that out he started to cry that people would care that much to do that for him.”
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.