In helping others, he’s found the secret to helping himself.

In November 2022, Daniel Chauvin, 76, didn’t just lose his wife of 53 years, he started losing himself.

Stricken with grief and struggling with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from serving in the Vietnam War, Chauvin was in a dark place.

He knew he needed to fill his mind by filling his time. So, he began doing odd jobs for people in his community – FOR FREE.

And somewhere, along the way, not only did he fix what people needed fixing, but he also mended his own broken heart.

“Idle Hands Make Fretful Minds”

After his wife, Patricia, died, and with his children and grandchildren living in another state, Chauvin had only his dog, Panda, and his parrot, Zeke for company. And while pets make great companions, they’re no substitute for human connection.

To add to the loneliness and isolation, Chauvin was haunted by the horrors of his past.

“I can’t sit around the house…my wife died last year and after that, it’s just sitting around. That doesn’t do it, especially with being a Vietnam veteran. Stuff starts coming back to you and haunts you.”

Daniel Chauvin via WLOX News

In order to combat the ghosts and keep his sanity, Chauvin, a retired construction worker, decided to channel his depression into something meaningful.

After spending more than four decades in the building industry and even more than that keeping his wife happy by checking off items from her “honey-do” list, he turned to what he knew.

In September 2023, Chauvin posted a selfie in a local Facebook group, Residents & Visitors of Bay St. Louis, alongside the message: “Any single woman needing honey-do job that they can’t do themselves I am willing to see if I can do it for you FREE because I lost my wife of 53 years and I am trying to stay busy by helping others !!!”

The “Honey-Do Dude” was born.

The Honey-Do Dude

Chauvin’s post “spread like wildfire.” Turns out, there are A LOT of people with unresolved “honey-do” lists.

And now, every day, upwards of four times a day, Chauvin can be found doing various handyman jobs up and down the Mississippi coast. A jack-of-all-trades, he does everything from fixing roofs to fixing floors and everything in between.

If you need it, you can bet he can do it. Need a porch swing hung? Done. Need a dishwasher or light fixture installed? Check. Need a trellis built? Pass the hammer.

As for his price? It can’t be beat. All he asks for in return is a picture. A visible reminder that he isn’t alone. Because, as he shares, what he needs isn’t money, it’s friends.

Contrary to his original Facebook post, Chauvin doesn’t just help single women, he helps anyone who needs it. He’s even offered training to people who want to learn the skills to tackle their honey-do lists on their own.

Since September he’s helped more than 100 very grateful people cross items off their honey-do lists. And in the process, he’s made a lot of new friends.

Finding Peace and Healing by Helping Others

Despite the odd person on social media questioning his motives, Chauvin has no plans of quitting. He hopes sharing his stories on his Facebook page will reassure people that it isn’t a scam. He’s just a lonely guy, fighting his demons, one odd job at a time.

And it’s working. Since starting his business, his PTSD has significantly improved.

“That’s what I was looking for,” he tells CBS News.

Proving that in the act of giving, we often find the greatest healing of all.