A Road Less Traveled By: A retired engineer's labor of love makes local dreams come true.
Bob Lehman received his first set of hand tools when he was six years old. He’s had a passion for building ever since.
A retired John Deere engineer, Bob took on many projects over the years, including converting more than 50 vans into campers for local dealerships and designing an extended van fashioned from two chassis for a traveling faith organization. His most treasured creation, however, was an impressive 36-foot-long motorhome made from two General Motors bodies and a new rear-engine, diesel-powered chassis—a tribute to his wife Joann.
“We’ve had different motorhomes that Bob has built or modified in some way, but never one as beautiful,” says Joann, smiling. “Blue is my favorite color and that’s why the inside is blue.”
Travel has always been important to the Lehmans; by the time Bob completed the motorhome, the pair had already visited all 50 states and six continents. When Bob turned 86, they had put just 200 miles on the motorhome and decided to pass the keys to someone else.
“The years go by fast,” says Bob. “It’s easier for us to make the decision now than to wait and not use it very much. Someone else can really use it to help other people.”
The Foundation helped the Lehmans find a new home for Bob’s motorhome at Camp Courageous, a year-round respite care and recreational facility in Monticello for individuals of all ages with disabilities. The nonprofit will use the vehicle to take campers across the country.
“We are eternally grateful because we know that people are using the motorhome in the way that we would want it to be used,” says Joann.
Charlie Becker, executive director of Camp Courageous, is also grateful. “I just can’t say enough good things about the Lehmans and their desire to give up something that he had worked so long on,” he says. “We’ve also been extremely impressed with the Foundation and its ability and willingness to go beyond the normal. If it weren’t for them, this never would have happened.”
“Philanthropy works best when it is collaborative,“ says Nancy Van Milligen, Foundation president/CEO. “This was a wonderful opportunity to connect donors with a nonprofit in need. We really are stronger together.”
To learn more, visit www.dbqfoundation.org/donors.