From Recipient to Donor: A Veteran’s Story
NHCO Blog/Jeff Geissler/Communications Coordinator
Three years ago, a Vietnam Veteran who retired from the real estate business could not afford his car's inspection. "I was retired, living on social security alone and nothing else. So I was living pretty much on gas fumes," Dan remembered. "When the car needed something done I couldn't afford it."
He contacted Daniel Wonders, who manages NHCO's Transportation Assistance Program. The program collects donated cars and sells them at auction. The money raised is used to help people stabilize their transportation situation during times of financial difficulty.
"It was hard for him to ask for help when he came to us several years ago - not unusual for veterans and people of his generation. But he simply could not afford the car repairs, and the car was his connection to everything. I remember Dan B. saying he would find tires at a salvage yard to save money - reluctant, it seemed, to ask for too much help," Wonders said.
NHCO's transportation program paid for most of the repairs and the inspection.
"It gave me a big sense of relief. It took the weight off my shoulders. It took something off my plate that I knew had to get done and knew I couldn't do it by myself," Dan said. 'It was inspected and it was safe and I knew that, so that was a good thing too."
Paying it forward
Dan's uncle recently passed away and left him some money. Remembering the generosity he got at NHCO, Dan used some of the inheritance to pay it forward. He mailed a check to NHCO worth slightly more than the help he received from us.
"I hadn't heard from Dan in a while, so when he called I guessed it was more car trouble. That wasn't it at all as he shared with me that he'd recently come into some money - it fell from the sky, he said - and that he wanted to do something for us, because it meant so much that we helped him when he really needed it. The donation was more than generous and in fact was more than what we spent to repair his car."
"All Dan said was 'promise me this will help someone.' I assured him it would," said Wonders.
"Sometimes people get down and out, you know. And they need a little bit help. And it's a real need," said Dan B. "If I could I would donate my car to North Hills Community Outreach, let Dan (Wonders) sell it and keep the money."