A single mom of four finally got a Christmas tree on Tuesday.
“We are going to go home and put the ornaments on it,” she said with tears in her eyes. “We had the ornaments, but not a tree.”
The donation, which also included a refurbished Chevy Suburban as well as clothing and shoes, was made possible by Second Chance Wheels, a newly formed Denton County coalition consisting of representatives from Farmers Insurance, James Woods Autopark, United Way of Denton County and the Denton Police Department.
“We are all proud, and we are all just so excited,” said Denny Aldridge, executive manager of James Wood Autopark. “We got to meet the family, and it gives you a good feeling.”
Aldridge said the project to help a family in need and provide them with a new method of transportation began six months ago. Richard Godoy with the Denton Police Department recommended a family he has been working with since 2007.
Godoy, who is the family services coordinator for the Denton Police Department, said a lot of families call him for assistance. Most of them are victims of violent crimes.
Godoy said among the many families he counsels and works with, this family stood out.
“It was probably because of the kids,” he said.
The family had a vehicle that was on its “last legs” and often times, getting to school or to her kids’ schools became a struggle, the mother said.
Randy Bastian, with the local Farmers Insurance, said in a news release that his insurance company donated a car and partnered with the body shop to get it repaired.
“Farmers owned it and instead of sending to a wrecking yard, they brought it to us,” Aldridge said. “Our employees repaired it with the help of some outside vendors and their donations. Our guys put the sweat equity into it, removed all the dents, repainted it and ensured everything was working properly.”
Aldridge estimated James Wood employees dedicated between 100 and 120 hours of their spare time repairing the Chevrolet Suburban.
John Siedel, body shop manager at James Wood Autopark, said in an e-mail to volunteers that dealership employees responded well to the call to collect clothes, food and other household items.
Gary Henderson, president and CEO of United Way of Denton County, said he admired the single mom and her children.
“Knowing the challenges she has faced in her life, it is wonderful to see the fruit of her hard work, persistence and love for her children,” Henderson wrote in an e-mail. “The example she has set for her children will shape their lives forever. I couldn’t be more happy for them!”
In tears, the single mom stood surrounded by her children and addressed the members of the coalition, city representatives and James Wood employees.
“We never thought something like this would happen to us,” she said. “I thank God for you all.”
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .