Metro man fixes up campers in effort to help homeless get back on their feet

Newsfeed Now

Newsfeed Now Videos

Newsfeed Now for February 17, 2020- Kansas man offers $25K to help him find a long-term girlfriend, Ark. boy reunites with lost hat and teen buys video game for a kid

Thumbnail for the video titled "Newsfeed Now for February 17, 2020- Kansas man offers $25K to help him find a long-term girlfriend, Ark. boy reunites with lost hat and teen buys video game for a kid"

A hat traveling 700+ miles reunites with Fayetteville boy

Thumbnail for the video titled "A hat traveling 700+ miles reunites with Fayetteville boy"

Kansas man offering $25K to anyone who can help him find a long-term girlfriend

Thumbnail for the video titled "Kansas man offering $25K to anyone who can help him find a long-term girlfriend"

Man buys boy a game

Thumbnail for the video titled "Man buys boy a game"

Heart of a Tiger: Deceased Auburn student donates organs to Bama Fan

Thumbnail for the video titled "Heart of a Tiger: Deceased Auburn student donates organs to Bama Fan"

Wichita couples share keys to a long marriage

Thumbnail for the video titled "Wichita couples share keys to a long marriage"

Newsfeed Now for February 13, 2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Newsfeed Now for February 13, 2020"

Man says he was attacked over his hat

Thumbnail for the video titled "Man says he was attacked over his hat"

Scoring big against all odds

Thumbnail for the video titled "Scoring big against all odds"
More Newsfeed Now

DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – “I just use what I’ve got and put it together,” said Oklahoma native Ryan Laughlin. 

Laughlin says he grew up fixing cars and building stuff.

He’s always loved working with his hands. 

“It was all rotted out underneath these windows, so I had to tear everything out on the lower end down there,” he said, pointing to an old camper. 

His newest endeavor brings some new meaning to his life. 

Laughlin and his girlfriend were inspired by, their now family friend, Chris Butts. 

Butts tells KFOR he found himself homeless after raising five kids. 

He was living with his dog out of his small Volkswagen Beetle. 

“Desperation, depression, there’s a lot of things that go on in your mind,” said Butts. 

However, Butts had a job and was trying to get back on his feet. 

All he lacked was a place to live. 

That is until he met Laughlin. 

“For once, you get the feeling, that a light at the end of the tunnel is not a train about to run you over,” said Butts. 

Laughlin spends his time buying and collecting old campers, RVs, or any mobile home he can find. 

“All of them are a little rough, but they’re not awful,” said Laughlin. 

His plan is to fix them up and make them a safe space for what he calls the working homeless. 

People just like Butts, who need a temporary place to live while they can save enough money to get a place of their own. 

“You’re struggling hard and the opportunity arises that somebody gives you a place, albeit humble, it is still a place. From there on out it’s an opportunity to launch yourself into what might be better … day, by day, by day,” said Butts. “It takes the cold and turns it into a ray of sunshine.”

“Sometimes they just need that little hand, that step, and it’s just really started to turn my heart to want to help these people,” said Laughlin.

Fixing these old campers up isn’t always the most glamorous project. 

“They have everything from plumbing to electrical, framing, you name it, it’s all there. It’s a lot of work and that’s basically all we do,” said Laughlin. 

He also has to make sure everything is running safely. 

He has to check things like carbon monoxide detectors, propane checks, escape windows, and more.  

Despite all the work, after seeing how it helped one person, he was hooked on the idea that this could grow into something massive. 

“I would like to see a small RV park community of usable trailers that people can come in and use, just like this for this specific thing,” he said. 

Butts adding, it’s this one small thing that could completely turn someone’s life around. 

“If someone is willing to work, to get from underneath where they are, it can be the ticket. It can be the thing that actually changes somebody’s life, and that’s just, well, it’s a Godsend, It’s a blessing,” Butts said.

Butts now lives in his own apartment. 

He spends his days helping Laughlin fix up the campers to pay it forward to somebody that may find themselves in a situation just like he did. 

“It’s everything. I mean it’s honestly literally everything to move from nothing to something,” said Butts. 

Laughlin also mentioned he is working with lawyers to make sure everything is running correctly. 

He’s in the beginning phases of the bigger project, but says he always makes sure the place where the campers end up is legal. 

Laughlin spends personal money and receives donations to make this project happen. 

If you’d like to help, you can donate here.

He also says he could always use supply donations of wood or anything else you can use in a camper. 

You can reach out to Laughlin on Facebook for more information on how to help. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.