RV makes strangers family

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 17, 2020

A Facebook page created to connect health care professionals with those willing to loan RVs as temporary living spaces has sparked a new friendship between a Buckingham EMT worker and a Richmond family.

For many health care workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, bringing the virus home to their families is a constant worry.

The Facebook group RVs 4 MDs, created March 24, aims to diminish those concerns. Since its creation, the page has helped hundreds of nurses, doctors and other health workers find a place to safely rest their heads after a long shift.

Those in need of a temporary living space post to the page about their situation and location, and nearby individuals and families reach out and offer to loan their campers as a place to live during the crisis. The motor homes can then be parked outside the worker’s residence.

Traquan Gregory, age 25, is a Delta Response Team EMT from Buckingham County. Gregory is married and has four children ranging from 2 months to 6 years old. He currently takes online classes and is a dual major in special education and elementary education.

Gregory works a 12-hour shift from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. He spends his days responding to the county’s 911 calls.

“It’s a different world now,” he said in reference to his work.

Gregory sees the effects of the virus at his job, and he often responds to calls for COVID-19 cases. The threat of catching the virus is always looming overhead.

The worry is only increased by the fact that some of his children have underlying health conditions. Gregory himself has had cardiovascular problems for three years and now lives with heart failure.

When a co-worker introduced him to the RVs 4 MDs Facebook group, Gregory felt compelled to reach out for assistance in order to protect his loved ones.

The site helped connect him with Sherry and Walter Klauer from Richmond. The couple had a camper they were willing to loan Gregory.

He said he initially felt overwhelmed and a tad lost in reference to living in and taking care of an RV, with no experience to draw upon, but after a conversation with Walter about how to maintain the mobile home, it all seemed doable. Sherry and Walter reached out to Gregory April 5, and by April 6 Walter had driven down and parked the camper in the EMT’s yard.

“He would not take gas money. He wouldn’t take anything,” Gregory said.

After meeting Walter, Gregory learned the Klauer family has three teenage children, one of which is a cancer survivor.

“It was amazing how a person that has been through a lot actually thought about blessing me with an RV camper so that I would not expose my family to COVID-19,” he added.

Sherry works as a program director for a nonprofit in the Richmond area. She said her sister-in-law was the one who invited her to the RVs 4 MDs group.

Her family was immediately excited about the opportunity to help someone during this difficult time. Their daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, and the Klauers became very passionate about camping and spending quality time together, owning several RVs over the years.

Sherry and Walter’s daughter, a junior in high school, is now cancer free. With the camper sitting idle as the family stayed home due to the pandemic, Gregory’s call for assistance was a chance to play a small part in the fight.

“It was just a no brainer for us to do whatever we can to support them during the time,” she said.

The RVs for MDs group has brought many people like Gregory, Sherry and Walter together in a time of need.

“There was a post in the RV page this morning saying that 755 matches have been made,” Sherry said. “I just got tears in my eyes, because that Facebook page is my good news feed every day.”

“It’s made complete strangers family, because I look at them as family now from their kind acts,” Gregory reflected. “How a complete stranger can donate something so valuable to another stranger because they’re on the front lines, it’s a true blessing, and it definitely makes them family.”

As an EMT that faces the virus every day, Gregory had a parting message for others.

“Please stay home if you are not essential. It is not worth catching the virus just because you are tired of being stuck at home and you just want to go out. This is serious. This is right on our back door. It is in our county. Stay home.”