Camp Haven welcomes new board member Gordon Stewart into the fold. The local nonprofit works to transform the lives of homeless men in Indian River County by providing a safe environment that helps them break free from destitution and despair and become contributing members of society.
“We are fortunate to have someone with Gordon’s experience join the Camp Haven Board. I feel confident his knowledge will help Camp Haven forge ahead in our mission to give homeless and hopeless men the tools that give them a sustainable future so they can unite with their families, support their children and contribute to the community,” shared Lalita Janke, Camp Haven board president.
Stewart and his wife Linda of fifty years have owned a home in Vero Beach since 1994 and in 2007 became full-time residents. Originally from Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. the couple still spends summers in Michigan and Augusta, Ga. where they own automobile dealerships.
After making Vero home, Stewart opened Motor City Classic Cars, a classic car company. Stewart has a stable of about 50 cars in a 16,000-square-foot showroom on 42nd Place, turning his hobby of 30 years into a viable business.
The Stewarts became aware of the growing number of homeless men in Indian River County during their visits to the Majestic 11 to take in a movie. It seemed like every time they made the trek from their home in John’s Island, the couple would see homeless people looking for handouts.
“You feel helpless when you drive by them on a regular basis. You can almost tell by looking the ones that have very little chance in their current state of rejoining society. It would be nice if they all could, but those that have the capability need a vehicle to help them get there,” shared Stewart.
“We realized there are a lot of homeless people that needed help,” recalled Stewart. “My wife said, ‘Someone needs to do something to help these people.’” The couple was intrigued by Camp Haven’s mission to provide that help, and Stewart stopped by one day and chatted with Janke to learn more about their methods for running the nonprofit.
What really impressed the Stewart’s were the expectations of each man residing at Camp Haven. Child support has to be paid and volunteer work done. The men are required to attend group and individual counseling sessions as well as life skills classes and drug testing. Job training and education are provided. Having three children and eight grandchildren, the couple connected deeply with the nonprofit’s focus on repairing relationships and taking responsibility.
Stewart has maintained a high level of participation as a board member, both professionally and in support of nonprofits. He currently serves on the board of CATCH, a children’s charity based in Detroit, Mich. and has previously served as board chair at the University Liggett School.
A co-founder of the North American International Auto Show, Stewart also served as president of the Board of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, The Greater Detroit Chevrolet Dealers Association and The Metro Detroit Chevrolet Dealers Advertising Association.
The couple has raised substantial funds for local charities at each of their dealerships, endowed scholarships at University Liggett School and St. Edward’s School, and provided college scholarship funding for students at Garden City High School in Garden City, Mich.
Camp Haven is located at 3256 US Hwy 1, Vero Beach, in the old Citrus Motel, near the corner of Aviation Boulevard. To learn more about Camp Haven, how you can volunteer or donate, please call 772.999.3625 or visit CampHaven.net.