Born in August of 1963, in Salt Lake City, Brad is a bike and car mechanic who has been homeless for the past 10 years. Humble, gentle and soft-spoken, Brad is fully sober and camps next to the lot where the Nomad Alliance hosts its monthly supply drives. Brad lost his home and his mechanic shop due to a back injury and dramatic increases in mortgage rates. Tragically, he was hit by a train on Christmas Eve 2021 and is currently in recovery from his injuries after being in a wheelchair for 9 months. His dream is to have, “a beautiful lady, a nice place to live, and a good job.” The Nomad Alliance is currently storing his bike parts so he isn’t tethered to his things and can lift himself off the streets. Brad will be taking over the Nomadic Mechanic entrepreneurial program this Spring and lives by the adage: “always find a few good reasons to be happy every day”.
“It’s hard to stabilize… paying rent and all that isn’t easy either, especially with health problems…if you get too far behind it’s hard to get back up there.”
Brad Shields was born in the month of August in 1963 and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He went to trade school to become a mechanic and had his own shop doing mechanic work. In addition to being a mechanic he made his living remodeling homes as a journeyman painter. He loved working as a painter until he lost his regular job around the 2008 recession. Despite a challenging back injury, Brad went to work making his mechanic shop a full time job. However, when his mortgage suddenly doubled, he was unable to keep up with the hours he would need to work without crippling himself. He lost his home in 2012 and has been homeless since then.
In his early time on the streets, Brad met his girlfriend. They have been together ever since. However, this has made finding long term shelter extremely challenging, as traditional shelters often don’t allow couples to stay together. It has proven difficult to find safe and secure storage for people’s belongings while they work if they do find shelter allowing couples to remain together. Most shelters do not allow you to bring more than one bag into the shelters with you so they are forced to surrender their belongings out on the streets to get stolen in most cases scenarios.
Due to abatements and shelter regulations Brad and his beloved girlfriend have been forced to move on nearly a daily basis. It is extremely difficult as Brad has been in a wheelchair from being hit by a train on Christmas Eve, 2021. Recently, Brad has been able to achieve some progress by walking as of October 2022. Brad is actively healing shoulder injuries, arm fractures, leg fractures, on top of being challenged with finding work again. Many of his past options are now too hard on his body. He expressed a deep need for stability for the entire nomadic community, stating that it’s nearly impossible to get and keep jobs without a stable place to rest and keep their belongings. Brad did apply for disability benefits but never received them.
Gunner has been a truck driver, heavy equipment operator, all phases of construction from doing the foundations to finished carpentry, worked on carnivals, dump truck operator, belly dumps, over the road driver, sous chef, and handyman, the latter for 30 years.
He is now helping the Alliance lay the foundation for the landscaping coop, which he will lead, and is available as the nomadic handyman, to fix anything broken in your home, though just ask him to keep his shirt on or he'll break, rather than fix, your marriage. ;)
Brad has expressed interest that he would like to return to work again as a mechanicm as working on vehicles is his passion. The Nomad Alliance is working in tandem with Brad to have him take over its currently suspended Nomadic Mechanic entrepreneurial co-op.
He describes his time in school learning how to be a mechanic as something that changed him as a person. His first priorities are currently being able to heal his body from the injuries he incurred. He would really enjoy being able to create a stable living situation for himself and his girlfriend.
He shared the wisdom to, “always find a few good reasons to be happy every day”.
To hire Brad to come to YOUR driveway and fix your car, please contact the Nomad Alliance by calling 801.688.3197 or messaging us here.
If you've got any mechanic tools, please let us know!
To donate directly to him or for the Nomadic Mechanic entrepreneurial expenses, please donate via our platforms in the Donate page on this website, with "Brad" or "Nomadic Mechanic" in the comment section.