WASILLA — Melony Green let out a jubilant squeal when she walked out of The Clock Tower in Wasilla on Thursday afternoon and saw an otherwise ordinary 2006 Chevy HHR.
Green was the recipient of Wheels of Hope’s donation of the vehicle after she was nominated as a single mother in need of transportation and selected by the Alaska Family Services review committee. Green is a recently divorced mother of five children, three of whom are still in school, and had been renting a car recently due to her a seized engine in her previous vehicle.
“Dividends were just gone and I had just paid out beaucoup money catching up on bills and had to save some for moving into a place for first and last and all that stuff and deposits and I just I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Green.
The Mat-Su Valley Napa AutoCare Council made up of seven family-owned businesses in the Valley have paired with AFS to donate nine vehicles since 2010 for families in need of transportation around Christmastime. A total of 17 nominees were submitted to AFS for review, some of whom were nominated multiple times by different people. Green, the members of the Napa AutoCare council and AFS congregated at The Clock Tower on Thursday to give the gift of transportation for Christmas.
“This is truly one of the most moving things I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of,” said AFS CEO and President Desire Shepler. “I’ve seen firsthand what it does to families when they don’t have transportation and you have someone like Melony who is working so hard for herself and her children and this is going to make all of the difference in their lives.”
Green was moved to tears as she exited the front doors of The Clock Tower and scurried toward her plum red 2006 Chevy HHR. Not only will Green have a reliable vehicle to drive to work, pick her kids up from school and run errands, but will be able to look up through the moon roof of her new vehicle, something she has never been able to do before. The members of the council attended to see tears of joy stream down Green’s face as she turned the key in the ignition for the first time. The council is made up of Randy and Terri Jenski from Jenski Automotive, David and Christy Edmonds from Northern Legacy Auto Care, Bill and Angie Hancock from Wasilla Family Auto, Ron and Cindy Causa from C&C Auto Care, Gretchen and Keith Santerre from Mr. Lube, Jim and June Ruda from Napa Auto Parts and Shad Baldwin from Powerstroke Performance.
“We do it around the holidays every year. We find a good reliable used vehicle, we pull it in the shop, inspect it, make sure everything’s safe, everything’s running, everything’s good, heater works, everything. So it should be a good reliable vehicle for the winter for a long time,” said Andy Rogers of Napa. “It’s one of the few things you do that actually feels good. When you give something away and help the community, especially to see the actual winner that gets it and how deserving they are, we’ve done this for a while and we’ve seen how it can make a big difference in somebody’s life.”
Green had pulled over to send a text message when the engine seized in her car. Without extra funds to purchase a car or credit to get a loan, Green had been renting a vehicle to get her three kids back and forth to school and to work at Frontline Mission.
“Working for Frontline Mission, I’m going to tear up. I see the hardships and the needs in our patrons and even a lot of our volunteers because a lot of our volunteers were former patrons and I’m in the position now and man, it really helps me to understand them a lot more. When you’re going through hardships like this and you feel alone a lot of times and all you want to know is somebody cares, that somebody is willing to help you, have a heart for you understanding and just care, so it’s really awesome,” said Green.
After the vehicle was purchased and before it was donated to Green free of charge, it was inspected by technicians to ensure it’s reliability. Green said that her favorite part about the car was the deep red color.
“Giving reliable dependable car to a family is one of the most powerful things you could do. Thank you,” said Shepler. “Our community is so willing to give and support each other. You see the partnerships with places like Toys 4 Tots and individual community members like special santa. So many volunteers all day, every day, kids competing to see who can give the most to other kids. It’s incredible.”