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Locals raising funds to help Squamish veteran who lives in his car

81-year-old, who served 11 years in the Canadian Forces, spends his days reading books, nights sleeping in the driver's seat.

 He is 81 years old, served his country for 11 years, two months and eight days in the Canadian Forces as a combat engineer, five of those years he was deployed to Germany.

He survived cancer in the 90s.

And now Orville Larson lives in his 2006 Saturn, spending his nights sleeping in Squamish parking lots.

He lost his cabin in the Squamish Valley in the past year when the property switched hands.

Larson is a proud man who has lived a quiet life in Squamish for 22 years.

Some folks might remember him from the late 1990s, early 2000s when he drove a one-ton truck and would haul hay.

His former valley neighbours Jeremiah and Randi White have launched a GoFundMe to raise $20,000 for a van they will have converted for Larson to live in.

The "Please help 81-year-old veteran living in his car," campaign has already reached close to half of that.

Larson doesn't want or need much. Just a place away from people.

A shelter environment wouldn't work for him, Larson said.

Too many people.

He's slept in the driver's seat of his packed car over the winter.

His car is loaded with food, a sleeping bag, books and, on Friday, a newly drawn picture by the White's daughters.

He spends his days reading books, a dog-eared James Patterson mystery at the moment.

"He's one of my favourite authors," Larson said.

 White noted that in Larson’s old cabin, books were stacked high.

This latest one Larson picked up at the book exchange at the Brackendale store.

Larson said he met Jeremiah White when the fellow veteran bought a wheelbarrow off of him.

White said as a former military veteran himself — he was infantry — he totally understands why Larson wants to be out on his own and not in a shelter.

"Orville and I do share a general distaste for civilization. That is why we both ended up out in the valley," White said, with a laugh.

Asked what he thinks of the campaign to get him a liveable van, Larson said the plan surprised and shocked him. 

"It blew me away," he said.

To support the campaign, go here.



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