An anonymous donation of two vehicles will transform the lives of two of ABCCM’s residents, one at the Veterans Restoration Quarters and the other at Steadfast House.
Mike, a U.S. Navy veteran living at the VRQ, is a skilled and experienced machinist who had been offered jobs in the area. But without a vehicle to get him back and forth to a job, he was stuck working part-time at a fast-food restaurant within walking distance. Marye, a new mother living at Steadfast House, had just finished her schooling to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) but was struggling to get her son to day care and hunt for jobs.
Their lives have now been transformed. “Now my journey begins,” Marye said after she helped her case manager install a car seat in the back of the Nissan Maxima from Whitt Motor Sales in Candler.
Marye hadn’t had a car for two years, when she lost it due to domestic violence. Her new vehicle will allow her to drop off her son at day care and then interview for jobs without having to worry about the bus schedule. Eventually, Marye will use the vehicle for transportation to a new job that will move her and her son from homelessness to self-sustainability.
“This is such a blessing and I am so grateful,” she said. “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Mike had already been job hunting when the donated vehicle became available to him. In fact, Mike had been offered jobs in the past, but because he had no transportation he was unable to accept them. Last year he decided to go on a job interview by riding his bicycle in combination with the bus. The weather was nice when he got there, but by the time he left it was raining. It took him three hours to get back to the VRQ. Mike got a call that he had been hired, but he had to turn down the offer due to his transportation challenges.
Before he knew about the vehicle donation, Mike had recently decided to leave his restaurant job and try to find a machinist position. He spoke to VRQ Director Tim McElyea about his plans to go on job interviews. Tim knew the car donation was available and was going to Mike – who serves as a Team Leader at the VRQ – but let Mike share his job struggles for a moment before sharing the good news.
“He came in my office and told me he had prayed about it and decided to put it in God’s hands to try to get a machinist job, and see what falls into place,” McElyea said. “I said, well, let me tell you something.”
Mike’s Toyota Camry allows him to accept a position in his field, which will take him from fast-food wages to a job starting at around $24 per hour, plus benefits.
“It’s going to be a life-changer,” said Mike, who admits that he teared up when he heard about the vehicle. I was just stepping out on faith. This is a blessing from God.”
Cars and vans donated to ABCCM are often given to male and female veterans, veteran families, and civilian women who are transforming their lives. Other donated vehicles are used to transport veterans to and from the Charles George VA Medical Center, training courses and college classes to ensure they have access to medical care and education as they restore their lives. These donations have a huge impact as they move men, women and families from homelessness to self-sustainability. If you have a vehicle to donate, please call 828-259-5300 for more information.