John and Donna Marsh are grateful that giving back is a part of the Denton community.
After the couple had struggled without a reliable vehicle for months, Classic of Denton donated a 2004 Mazda MVP van that’s wheelchair-accessible to the couple as part of the company’s annual Christmas giveback program.
Classic Mazda general sales manager Rick Wick said the dealership adopted 100 needy families this year brought to them by Cross Timbers Community Church, St. Mark Catholic Church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and Friends of the Family — an organization that helps victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
“I can’t stress enough how it’s important to take care of your own,” Wick said. “We are firm believers here that there are people in the community in need and we try to help out as many as we can.”
John Marsh has been struggling with diabetes most of his life and his left leg was amputated below the knee in 2009. After he recovered, Marsh said he lost three toes on his right foot because of the disease.
“When I heard their ’99 Chevy van could only go about 10 miles per hour and drive no longer than a mile, I traded keys with them,” Wick said. “John said he hadn’t been out of the apartment but about six times this whole year because of it.”
Donna Marsh, who works for Hobby Lobby, kept her husband worried at night since her commute could sometimes take up to two hours.
“I have noticed I’m able to sleep better the last couple nights,” John Marsh said on being given the new van. “I didn’t realize it at the time it was going on, but I must have been missing quite a few winks waiting up and thinking about her.”
John Marsh was appointed Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus Council 12553 during 2003-04 and has volunteered in many positions in the community to assist others in need since his move from upstate New York more than 20 years ago.
“I never would’ve dreamt that after giving back, someday I would be the recipient,” John Marsh said. “I just don’t have the words to say thank you enough.”
Since 2004, the dealership has been assisting families in the community, Wick said.
“It all started with a Christmas tree,” he said.
Richard Allen was working at Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine when a man admired the dealership’s Christmas tree.
“The man said he never had one and always wanted to, so Richard snatched up the tree and it became the older man’s,” Wick said. “When Richard came here, he started the tradition of giving and the program has grown considerably over the years.”
Each adopted family has about $550 dollars spent on them for Christmas presents and dinner. All families are screened by Classic of Denton customer relations manager Lisa Duchene-Tate before they are adopted. From there, management is in charge of making sure the adoptive families are delivered their Christmas in time.
Money is contributed by employees, area businesses, vendors and others who want to assist, Wick said. In addition to the families, $5,000 checks were donated to SpiritHorse Therapeutic Center and Our Daily Bread, a community soup kitchen.
Having been a past recipient — last year John Marsh received a wheelchair and some other household items — he feels touched more than ever before and is glad there is a program like Classic Denton’s in place.
“It’s almost like a Christmas miracle,” he said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.