Neighbor stories

Good Neighbor Spotlight: How a Phoenix couple is giving homeless veterans a second chance at life

Written by Annie Barco

In honor of September being Good Neighbor Month, we will be showcasing incredible stories of how neighbors are using Nextdoor to go above and beyond in their local communities. Have a story of your own? Send us an email at

Homelessness is a divisive issue that spans neighborhoods across the country, and often creates conflict among neighbors. But in Phoenix, one couple is taking the politics out of it and simply doing what they believe is the right thing to do.

David Duarte has been giving back to his Phoenix community for over 20 years. David grew up in a family of servicemen from police officers, military personnel, and firefighters, and followed suit by serving as a firefighter and paramedic for the last 20 years. His experiences have given him deep respect for the veterans in his community, many of whom are homeless and unemployed.

David’s wife Sherri always said that David made it through the many dangerous and life-threatening situations that he faced as a firefighter and paramedic because he had a greater purpose, and in February, she identified an opportunity that would help David fulfill this purpose. Sherri was on Nextdoor when she saw a post from a neighbor about a veteran who was looking for work. The post included a photo of the man with a sign which read “Combat-vet, looking 4 work, have skills call Chad.”

Sherri immediately thought of the dish washing job that she and David were looking to fill at their new restaurant, so the couple called Chad that evening and asked him if he would be interested. Chad was, and eagerly met David at the restaurant the very next day. Flash forward six months and Chad has been one of David and Sherri’s best employees. He always showed up for work on time, gave his all in the kitchen, and took on every opportunity presented to him to learn more about cooking and food preparation.

In June, David and Sherri helped Chad find an apartment and turned to Nextdoor once again to ask for donations of furniture to help Chad fill his empty apartment. Neighbors were thrilled to have an opportunity to help support Chad and donated furniture, gift cards, and clothing. Thanks to David, Sherri, and the entire community’s support, Chad was able to save enough money to go back to school to pursue a Computer Science degree.

While he is pursuing this new endeavor, Sherri and David are looking forward to helping other homeless veterans get their lives back on track. They plan to fill Chad’s role at the restaurant with another veteran who needs work. David also plans to host his annual Christmas dinner, which he hosts under a freeway bridge for the dozens of homeless camped out there.

We are inspired by the way these neighbors came together to support a homeless member of their community, and hope their story will encourage others to do the same. Thank you David and Sherri for all you are doing to make a positive difference. Keep it up!


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