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Unlikely heroes live among us

Anyone can make a difference if they wish
Stephen ‘Dusty’ Roberts is the owner/proprietor of Luv-A-Rug, an area rug cleaning business in Victoria. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Roberts)

Tim Collins/Contributor

We often equate heroism with occupations and it seems that’s a fair connection. After all, firefighters, military, medical professionals and others of their ilk regularly make the world a better place.

But sometimes it’s the most unlikely people who are the greatest heroes.

Take Stephen “Dusty” Roberts, for example.

Roberts is the owner/proprietor of Luv-A-Rug, an area rug cleaning business in Victoria.

Roberts dedicates a good deal of his business to raising money for charities and collecting, cleaning and distributing area rugs to those who need them. He’s given donated rugs to Afghan and Ukrainian immigrants and others, and sold clean, donated rugs to raise money for a host of charities.

“I had a Grade 2 teacher a few days ago. She didn’t have money to buy a rug for their reading corner, and I’m so grateful to teachers who nurture our children and often pay for supplies on their own, so, of course, we got her a rug,” Roberts said.

“My dad was always very generous and he taught me that helping others makes you feel good. The more we give, the better we feel.”

But that philosophy extends beyond washing rugs.

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On a vacation to the Philippines a few years back, Roberts and his wife were appalled at the poverty they encountered in some areas, and having gotten to know a worker and her family at their hotel, they resolved to help where they could.

“Some say we adopted them, but I think they adopted us as well,” said Roberts. “They didn’t have a place to live, and they were very poor.”

Roberts and his wife helped to get housing and employment and health care for their adopted family and arranged for funding for the eldest daughter to come to Victoria to study nursing.

“We’re going to keep this going to bring more young people here to become nurses as well,” he said. “We’re solving the nursing shortage, one nurse at a time.”

Generosity and giving are just a part of his DNA.

Once, while visiting Broadmead Lodge, he saw his father’s joy at watching the hummingbirds outside his window. Roberts arranged to have a hundred feeders put in place so all the residents could share the joy.

He went on to help fund a music therapy program for the residents.

“My dad would have liked that. I’m just living up to the values he always had.”

And that, we suspect, makes Roberts feel good as well.

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