OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The eastern Alabama community continues to rally around Mike “Robo” Roberson, a former Auburn and DARE police officer who served nearly three decades before catastrophic strokes didn’t force him to retire.
Soon, a $ 40,000 home improvement project with the Chattahoochee Fuller Center funded by your donations will provide a wheelchair-friendly bed and bathroom for Robo and his wife. Another blessing hit their Opelika driveway on Thursday.
“We’ve taken care of your house and needed some wheels for you, so here’s your new pickup truck,” Josh Datnoff, president of the Auburn Firefighters Association, shared the fantastic news to Robo and his family. Tears of joy and hugs followed the surprise announcement. The Gunners Motorcycle Club, Auburn Firefighters Association, Franklin Tire, CP Wrecker, Tiger Body and Paint have collaborated to donate a wheelchair accessible van.
“Very exciting because now he’s mobile he can go out and do the things he wants to do and live with ease,” said Jacquelyn Roberson.
Robo’s wife, Jacquelyn, is his dedicated caregiver. The couple can no longer sleep in the bedroom of their Opelika house because Robo cannot go upstairs. Instead, Robo sleeps in his wheelchair, Jacquelyn by his side on another chair in their living room on the first floor. Robo says it would be great to rest comfortably in a bed and take a shower, which he hasn’t been able to do for several months. It was difficult for them to travel as it was difficult to get Robo out of his wheelchair and get him into a vehicle. He needed a van with a ramp.
When Josh Datnoff of the Firefighters Association heard about Robo’s situation, he began raising money for the Fuller Center remodeling project of adding a bed and tub on the ground floor for the couple. . Datnoff then began looking for a way to help Robo and his wife travel more easily to see friends, family, and doctors as he continued his recovery.
“The van was my uncle’s van and he passed away. So we gave it to a close family friend, and she had it for about three years. She got better and didn’t need the ramp anymore, so they donated her to the Auburn Firefighters Association so we could get her ready for Robo, ”Datnoff said.
The Gunner’s Motorcycle Group helped secure repairs and maintenance to the pickup truck, in addition to raising money for the home improvement project. So on Thursday when the van was handed over to Robo and his family, it was hard to say who was happier – Robo or the friends who gave him the keys.
“When you see a grown man cry, it brings tears to your eyes. Especially since it’s a surprise. I’ve been wiping my eyes since I’ve been here, ”said Cody Post, owner of CP Wrecker Service.
On the back of the van, Gunners Motorcycle Club President Ruben Garza asked Robo if it would be okay to put three tribute stickers to late Auburn Police Officer Will Buechern on the back. Robo readily agreed. Buechner was a Gunner brother and loved his biker family. The Gunners are known for their generous hearts and ongoing community service. Garza says Buechner would have loved to see Robo, his former Auburn police brother, receive a van to help him.
“We should do this for anyone who needs help. But, so often, you can’t do it on your own, and we’re just happy to help in any situation. This is what we do as a club. That’s what gunners do, ”Garza said.
Meanwhile, Robo’s house renovation project will begin soon. The Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project will keep us updated on a volunteer schedule and opportunities. We hope everyone will join a community effort to help one of Auburn’s favorite officers who gave his life to serve the citizens and students within our schools. Volunteers receive a free t-shirt with Robo on the back.
The Fuller Center Project is a nonprofit group that builds and renovates homes for families in need. The group primarily serves in Chambers County, but in 2019 the group contacted families in Lee County devastated by the March 3 tornadoes and built 18 homes in 7 months for the survivors.