After returning home to Eugene, Oregon from Alaska, the Wood family had no place to go. So Robert, his pregnant wife Heather and their two sons, 4-year-old Samuel and 2-year-old Logan, slept in their car at Alton Baker Park. The park closes at 11 p.m., so it was no surprise an officer knocked on their window around 10:30. However, Robert Wood was left in shock from the officer’s response.
“He’s like, let me buy you a hotel room,” Wood said.
Eugene Police Lt. David Natt provided the Wood family with two nights at the Campus Inn, as reported by News Source 16.
“I saw the kid on his chest and a kid on her chest,” said Natt, who returned to the park for an interview once learning the Wood family would be there. “And this was a cold night.”
“Any of us could be right where they’re at,” said Natt. “It doesn’t take much. And like I told him, you give him an opportunity to gain a bit of time. A little bit of time is so valuable, and it’s so meaningful to them.”
A fund set up by University Fellow Church in Eugene five years ago paid for the hotel. However, Natt has paid out of pocket in the past for hotel rooms, cups of coffee and a pair of boots.
“It’s part of our three-word motto,” said Natt, “protect, serve and care. And you have to take each one of those in all circumstances to heart when you’re making your decision.”
Thanks to the two nights in the hotel, the Wood family was able to find a temporary place of resident with a family friend until they are able to find their own home.
“He made me want to be able to do the same kinds of things for other people,” said Wood. “He took away the shame and let me know that he’s just a person, I’m just a person and things like this happen. It was moving.”
Being filled with positive emotions, the first night in the hotel Wood shared his family’s encounter with Natt on Facebook and the post quickly spread reaching as far as Bulgaria. The post has over 8,000 likes and over 2,000 shares.
It just so happens that that two men are both veterans from the same Marine Corps unit, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, serving just about 10 years apart from each other.
“Marines taking care of Marines,” said Wood paraphrasing comments to the post. “And cops taking care of their citizens!”
Wood is looking for employment as a glazier and his family is looking for a place with two bedrooms in a safe neighborhood. If their third child is a boy, Wood said they are considering on naming him David. The humble Natt said that is over the top.