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News / Community / Truckies

VHA resident turned employee models opportunity

The Columbian
Published: November 5, 2021, 5:57am

CENTRAL VANCOUVER — Damien Wheeler grew up in Skyline Crest, a subsidized housing neighborhood in central Vancouver, with his mom, twin brother, sister and later his stepdad. The 27-year-old has spent most of his career serving families in the same low-income neighborhood he grew up in. Wheeler worked at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington, his alma mater Fort Vancouver High School and most recently at Bridgeview Resource Center. Wheeler recently left Bridgeview to work as an EMT with AMR and aims to someday become a firefighter. He credits much of his success to support and opportunities he was offered as a kid. When he was 10, Wheeler began working with a mentor through the Rise & Stars Community Center. He was paired with VHA employee Shawn Hamburg, who worked in the construction and maintenance office just steps from Wheeler’s home. Hamburg noted that because Wheeler received help as a child, he went on to help dozens of at-risk youth. He’s worked with teens who were struggling to graduate high school or struggling to envision themselves getting into college.