Bobby Crutsinger started out as Weatherford’s “tent guy,” giving tents to the town’s homeless population for five years.
But just a week before Christmas, Crutsinger was inspired by a couple that had been homeless for 15 years. The husband was a three-time war veteran. He gave them a 45-foot RV, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“What inspired me [to do it is] when I seen the couple’s faces,” Crutsinger said. “He calls me every day, and I check on him, and it’s a blessing, you know.”
Now, Crutsinger and his wife of 22 years Peggy are taking donated RV’s, cleaning them up and giving them to the homeless across North Texas. They started giving the RV’s to homeless veterans but have branched out to the entire homeless population and now call the project “Operation Texas Strong 2021.”
“I gave a single mom a double-decker, which was a 35-foot travel trailer,” Crutsinger said. “And she has three little ones. And the little boy came up to me, and I started crying because he told me, ‘Thank you for giving my mom a home and me. I’m gonna make my room over here.’”
Right now, Crutsinger has 17 RV’s he’s working on, and he’s given away 22 since Jan. 1, when he first launched the operation. He said the project is “getting bigger and bigger every day,” and people call from as far as Tennessee and Mississippi asking to donate RV’s.
A friend of Crutsinger’s picks up the RV’s for “a little bit of money,” and then they are taken to his ranch to be cleaned out. They then give the RV to a homeless individual or family and help them find a place to put it. Usually, the RV’s have to be placed outside city limits due to city laws, which can be difficult.
“Most homeless people grew up where they’re at,” Crutsinger said. “Like they’re homeless where they lived. They didn’t want to start over, and they want to stay close to families.”
Because of that, Crutsinger’s goal is to build an 80-acre RV park for them to live until they get back on their feet.
Crutsinger said he and his wife do the project “with no money.” People reach out to him with RV’s to donate, and others drop off wood and gift cards to help him cover the cost of supplies. He’s currently working on getting his 501c so he can start taking official donations, but he’s still in the process of doing so.
But Crutsinger said he and his wife are trying to “reach out more to get more help” so the project can reach more cities across the DFW area.
“We let anybody join to help,” Crutsinger said. “Whoever wants to help, they can.”
Crutsinger said he does what he does “for God’s work.” And with that, he said he’s always moved by seeing the reactions of families and individuals he gives a place to call home.
“I like seeing their face and their smile,” Crutsinger said. “Like one guy hadn’t took a bath in like a year, and we hooked up his water. And…he told me the next day he was in the shower for five hours because he said it was his RV, so he’s safe.”
He believes in the philosophy that you never know what someone is going through — something he experienced first-hand growing up.
“I was raised by a master sergeant,” Crutsinger said. “My grandfather was in the military 35 years, and I’ve had a rough life as a child. But my grandpa took me in when I was about 9 years old. And my mom passed away from drug overdose.”
Crutsinger said he ended up getting addicted to drugs for years to try and fix his mental anguish. He has now been sober for about eight years, is the father of four teenagers and the proud owner of a towing company in Weatherford called Kangaroo Towing.
“If you’ve never been through what somebody has been through, you can’t say you understand people,” Crutsinger said.
Now that he’s back on his feet, he said he lives by the fact that you never know how much time you have left on this Earth.
“No matter what color or race you are,” Crutsinger said. “You know, we all bleed red, so it’s all the same.”