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Great Alaska adventure: Man doesn’t let car fire slow him down

By Bonney Bowman 8:13 PM September 2, 2016
ANCHORAGE –

When life gets tough a good attitude can help you through it. One man, new to Alaska, is having a really tough time – but it’s not getting him down.

Peter Schutt bought a car off Craigslist the same day he arrived in Alaska, which was Aug. 27. He only drove it a short distance before realizing something was wrong.

“I could smell smoke coming out from under the hood, so I went ahead and stopped and lifted the hood a little bit and saw fire so I shut it right away so no oxygen could get to it,” said Schutt.

For him, this car was more than just a way to get around.

“I was going to sleep in it until I got my disability check,” he said. “I’m out of money and homeless.”

Most people would be angry and upset to watch their car, which is also their home, go up in flames. Not Schutt. He’s always wanted to live in Alaska and now he’s here.

“Coming up here to retire on my last great adventure after fulfilling a life-long dream,” he said. That dream was getting a college education.

“I was hoping to do some good fishing and put my college degree to work because I just graduated from Portland State with a bachelors in science and social science,” said Schutt.

He wanted back the money he spent on the car, but the seller says he warned Schutt not to drive it. He says he recommended Schutt tow it to a place he could fix the very leaky transmission. Schutt says he got no such warning, but says the seller told him the transmission slipped. Either way, his money is gone and he’s faced with sleeping in a shelter.

Despite this string of bad luck, Schutt isn’t giving up. While heading to the shelter, he passed a paving site and stopped to speak to the owner.

“I’m going to be without funds, can I work today?” Schutt says he asked. “He heard the story and he said ‘absolutely.’ And here I am getting ready to pave the asphalt.”

Schutt is not stranger to hard work.

“I went to work at 13 picking stuff in the fields and I’ve worked my entire life for my family. That’s why my dad told me, ‘Peter get the hell out of here. Go live your dream.'”

Schutt took his dad’s advice because he might be running out of time. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years ago.

“I’m not going to worry about it. It’s all good today. I’m working and I’ve got a bed to sleep in,” he said. Schutt doesn’t know where he’ll be in a year, but he says m aybe he’ll put that hard-earned college degree to work.

“I think I have a lot to offer people and one of that is how to overcome adversity and move on with your life,” he said.

KTVA checked back in with Schutt one week after the car fire. He said he got his social security check and was able to find a room to rent, so he’s out of the shelter.

He’s still saving up to buy another car. He laughed when he said hopefully, this one won’t got up in flames. If you would like to be a part of KTVA’s Problem Solvers and help Schutt get a new vehicle, click here to visit the GoFundMe account set up for him.

Do you know someone with a story like Peter Schutt’s? Let us know by emailing KTVA’s Problem Solvers.

KTVA 11′s Bonney Bowman can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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