His name is Chester Chandler but he goes by Memphis Gold.
“My wife gave me the name," Gold laughed. "I was from Memphis and I had two gold teeth she said lets call you Memphis Gold and it stuck from there on."
The Arlington US Navy Veteran proudly shows off his service wherever he goes, wearing this Vietnam veteran hat everyday.
He spent 14 years in the military but the Navy vet didn't always have the bubbly personality that he is known for now.
After he got out of the military, he found himself homeless on the streets of Washington, D.C. suffering PTSD and mental health issues.
“I came to DC in 1991 and I was homeless for three years living on the streets” Gold said. “I found myself in my late thirties and I'm trying to figure out what do I want to do with my life."
Gold says it was a DC pawn shop that changed his life one day.
“I walked into this pawn shop and there was a guitar hanging on the wall," Gold recalled. "I told him I am homeless and he loaned me $50 to put this guitar on layaway."
After months of cutting grass in Northwest neighborhoods, he purchased the guitar and began performing at local music clubs.
Now at age 67, he’s upgraded his guitar a few times and travels the world performing.
“I have been to 48 countries since then and I am on the cover of the oldest blues magazines in the entire world” Gold explained.
However, when he’s not playing the guitar at festivals, he’s focused on his nonprofit Building Bridges America, which helps homeless and disabled veterans through music and art.
During the pandemic they helped to provide things like toiletries and face masks to homeless veterans.
“We have got a lot of homeless veterans still out there today” Gold said.
If you live in Arlington, you probably know him best for his rides around Ballston where he's always on the go and always spreading joy.
“I get around" Gold laughed.View This Story on Our Site