A self-proclaimed hermit who grew to become unintentionally well-known after shedding his residence to a fireplace is about to get new digs due to beneficiant donations to a GoFundMe marketing campaign—and one whopping large verify from a philanthropist.
81-year-old ‘River Dave’, whose actual identify is David Lidstone, had been dwelling off-the-grid in the identical secluded New Hampshire location for nearly three a long time. He didn’t personal the property the place he’d constructed his modest A-frame cabin on the banks of the Merrimack River, however says he had permission from the location’s earlier proprietor to remain there.
Citing environmental and zoning violations, the present proprietor, nevertheless, took steps to have him eliminated. On the identical day that Lidstone appeared in court docket charged with civil contempt for refusing to vacate, his cabin burnt to the bottom.
Whereas the trigger was most certainly unintentional moderately than arson, the outcome remained the identical. River Dave—alongside together with his cats and his chickens—was out of a house.
Estranged from his spouse and household, for many of his 27-year tenure on the 73-acre plot of timberland, Lidstone saved to himself. He did, nevertheless, often befriend a passing kayaker or boater, and people ties proved robust sufficient to kind an surprising lifeline.
Previous to the authorized contretemps, longtime good friend Jodie Gedeon hoped the state of affairs between the landowner and Lidstone would come to a peaceable decision. The proprietor’s legal professionals thought in any other case, however after the fireplace, the purpose grew to become moot.
With Lidstone now homeless, Gedeon and good friend Sharon Copello rapidly organized a GoFundMe web page to assist River Dave get again on his ft. As phrase of his plight unfold, donations and affords of locations to remain started to roll in.
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Whereas the response was staggering and the preliminary $15,000 funding objective was rapidly met, nobody might have predicted what got here subsequent.
On August 11, New Hampshire resident and billionaire CEO of Palantir Applied sciences Alexander Karp reached out to Lidstone and wrote him a private verify to the tune of $180,000 for dwelling and future bills.
“I hope every of you might be sitting down and have a tissue or two subsequent to you as what I’m going to share is a part of the completely satisfied ending to come back and I can’t think about a dry eye anyplace after you learn this,” Gedeon posted to her Fb web page of the beneficiant donation.
Lidstone wanted a number of hankies himself.
“How can I categorical myself and my gratitude in the direction of one thing like that? I begin to tear up each time I give it some thought,” Lidstone informed the Harmony Monitor. “For an previous logger who all the time needed to work, for anybody to provide you that kind of cash, it’s extremely tough for me to get my head round.”
The monies raised for River Dave are being put right into a belief for him. For causes of privateness, he’ll be staying at an undisclosed location over the winter, and someday subsequent yr, at a constructing web site as but to be named, development for his new residence will start.
“I really feel about nearly as good as I ever have in my life,” a grateful Lidstone informed AP, though admitted the current outpouring of kindness and assist has been one thing of a revelation to him. “Possibly the issues I’ve been attempting to keep away from are the issues that I really want in life… I grew up by no means being hugged or kissed, or [having] any shut contact…
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“I had any individual ask me as soon as, about my spouse: ‘Did you actually love her?’ And the query form of shocked me for a second. [I’d] by no means liked anyone in my life. And I shocked myself as a result of I hadn’t realized that. And that’s why I used to be a hermit. Now I can see love being expressed that I by no means had earlier than.”
In the meantime, because the GoFundMe marketing campaign winds down on the finish of August, Gedeon hopes to maintain paying the love ahead.
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“We really feel we will help Dave construct a superb life now and can endlessly be grateful,” she posted. “We additionally know what number of different charities and persons are in want of assist. On the finish of the month, we’re asking that the highlight be handed on to others to convey consciousness and alternatives to unfold the love and proceed to be the change!
“The world is a greater place with every of you in it and we merely can’t thanks sufficient.”
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