LOVELAND, Colo. — Gary may be a man of few words, but words aren't really necessary to see how much Mobile Laundry means to him.
"I’m living on the brink. I don’t have enough money," Gary said. "I live in my motorhome and it stinks. My socks are terrible. So it’s either shuck out money or these guys will do it for free."
He is one of the many who relies on Mobile Laundry, a free service that's bringing back dignity for homeless people and families barely getting by.
"If you don’t have clothes that smell good, if you don’t have clothes that are clean, especially for kids in school, that’s just the worst thing in the world," said founder, Woody Carlson.
Carlson, a retired Lutheran minister, is the mastermind behind the Mobile Laundry truck.
"It’s been one of the best projects ever," Carlson said.
Nearly four years ago, staring down retirement, Carlson began this passion project. He shamelessly dressed up as a washing machine to raise some of the $100,000 to buy and outfit the truck with six sets of washers and dryers.
"He treats everybody with respect, and that’s kind of his goal — is to make sure that everybody feels like they’re a human being and deserving of respect, just like you or me," said volunteer Pat Friehauf.
Each week, Carlson parks the truck at schools and libraries in northern Colorado. People drop off their dirty laundry, which Carlson and other volunteers then bag, wash and fold all for free.
"At the schools, we’re probably doing about 15 to 20 loads a day and here we’re doing about 45 and that’s our max," Carlson said.
It's a system they've got down to a science. Well, almost.
"We’ve never once mixed up any laundry," Carlson said. "We’ve had a few missing socks."
A missing sock here and there is a small price to pay for a service that means so much to so many people, like Gary.
"I didn’t know he’s the one that did it. But yeah, good job," Gary said.
For more information on the service or to make a donation, click here.
Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.