Uber driver committed to recovery donates earnings to others’ recovery

Uber driver committed to recovery donates earnings to others’ recovery

After years of hitchhiking under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Patrick Kempfer is back in the driver’s seat. He has survived 13 overdoses in his lifetime.

“I like to drive, listen to music, and talk to strangers,”� Kempfer said.

Those strangers are Uber passengers, and on New Year’s Eve, Kempfer decided to give back with the money he earned.

“What would be better than using the money that I earn New Year’s Eve, helping people who are out partying and having a good time, getting them home safely, if I use those earnings to support the recovery support center?” Kempfer explained.

Kempfer works for the Wisconsin Recovery Community Organization, a group that connected about 40 people with various addiction issues with resources last year alone. Kempfer compares it to a travel agency for recovery.

“So people come in and are like, ‘Hey I’m looking for some recovery,” Kempfer said. “And we say, ‘Let’s sit down and talk about what kind of recovery you’re looking for.'”

The support center is currently housed in the basement of Ashbury United Methodist Church on University Avenue. Kempfer said the WIRCO board has little to no funding to move the help to a more visible location.

“My basic philosophy now a days is do your best. Sometimes my best is this much. Sometimes my best is just not giving up completely,” Kempfer said. “And sometimes my best is driving all night on New Year’s Eve to raise money to buy new furniture for the recovery support center.”

WIRCO offers aid to people with any addiction-related problems, something Kempfer says he’s now passionate about doing.

“Active addiction is like holding your breath, and when people say they hit bottom, that isn’t so much where it’s the worst,” Kempfer explained. “Hitting bottom, that moment of realization, that’s the moment where someone says, I need to breathe. I need air. I need something else.”�

Kempfer raised more than $200 for WIRCO on New Year’s Eve.

If you are interested in contributing to WIRCO, email Kempfer at prkempfer@wirco.org.