A Vernon auto retail shop manager says his plan to give a local family a hand up at Christmas couldn’t have gone better.
Brandon Colvin, who manages Fountain Tire on 48th Ave., knows what a “game changer” it can be to own a car. That’s why he, with the help of his Fountain Tire colleagues and a team of mechanics and specialists from Fix Auto North and Napa Auto Parts, decided to purchase a 2008 Pontiac G5 in desperate need of some TLC with the goal of fixing it up and presenting it to a local family over the holidays.
They presented the car, filled presents (received from donors and local businesses), as well as just over $500 in gift cards, to Lumby resident, Skye McCluskey and her daughter, Taryn on Dec.24. Colvin said he and his wife also purchased a few “more personalized” gifts for the McCluskeys after “learning a little more about them.”
Colvin said McCluskey, who was reportedly having a bad day before they arrived, was “extremely grateful” for the once-in-a-lifetime gift.
“She had no idea we were coming out that day and apparently she wasn’t in good spirits that day, I guess she was unpacking or something, but when she came outside and saw the car, I think she cheered up quite a bit,” Colvin recalled. “She was totally shocked.”
To find a deserving family Colvin had issued a public call out in early December asking people to write in to the team, explaining how they, or someone they knew could benefit from the car. He said they received more than 50 submissions before the Dec. 20 deadline. But it was ultimately Skye’s story that touched him.
“We spent a few nights siphoning through all the responses and we got it down to three choices. When I read Kayla’s letter (a friend who had written in on McCluskey’s behalf), I knew we had our winner. Hers was just one of those stories that hits you at home real hard, you know? I feel for her, for sure.”
A recent transplant from Grand Forks, McCluskey, he explained, is a single mother who was forced to leave her job after her partner unexpectedly passed away, leaving her and her daughter without a second income or a reliable vehicle.
“She was with a guy she thought was going to be her future and he had a heart attack and died,” Colvin explained.
“They had a newer vehicle but it was in his name so it got repossesed, so without a vehicle to get to and from work, she was kind of stranded. She had to leave her job and move in with her parents in Lumby. I think she’s basically just trying to start over.”
With a new set of “reliable wheels,” to get to and from work, Colvin says he hopes McCluskey gets the “fresh start” she was looking for, and he looks forward to giving a helping hand up to a local family next year.