02 May Local Hero Profile: Raul Fraga
Every day, unsung heroes walk among us on the streets of Central Oregon. One bright example can be found at the Midas shop off of 3rd Street in Bend. His name is Raul Fraga, and his brand of heroism is supporting the homeless. His passion springs from a personal place—during some of his childhood in Miami, Florida, his family was homeless.
Fraga was raised by a single mother, so there were times when money was very tight. His challenging childhood did not break his spirits but instead created a resiliency you can feel the moment you meet him. He has a strong, bold and “all business” attitude that helped him survive living on the streets in Miami. Fraga says, “When you are hungry you look for food; when you are homeless you look for work.”
Fraga always knew that he was more than a homeless kid. As a young adult, he worked hard to get his first job as a mechanic at Midas. His strength and determination helped him climb the corporate ladder. He went from employee to assistant manager to store manager. Today, he is the owner of our local Midas shop.
Interestingly enough, his shop is right next to the Bethlehem Inn. The Bethlehem Inn is a community-supported shelter that provides a warm, safe place to sleep, nourishing meals and mental health services for adults and children experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon.
When Fraga reached a place in his own life where he could give back to the community, he went straight to what was closest to his heart—the homeless was that. Fraga says, “What inspired me to help the homeless is because I was homeless.” He hired a man, once homeless, who was living at the Bethlehem Inn. Fraga learned this man was a mechanic, so he gave him $200 to go back to his hometown to retrieve his tools and then hired him at Midas.
Fraga not only gave him a job, he gave him a purpose and a community. Fraga took his coal-like childhood and turned it into diamonds, not only for himself but for others struggling with homelessness as well. This is a true unsung hero.