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Kindness of strangers gets van fixed

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OLATHE, Kan. -- When your car breaks down it's tough. Trying to find a ride is a chore, let alone figuring out how to pay the repair bill.

Now imagine having Muscular Dystrophy and having to use a wheelchair. That's what a 25-year-old Olathe man has been dealing with, until Wednesday.

Joey is a college student and will graduate in May with a degree in graphic design. He has to drive from Olathe to downtown Kansas City for class and depends on his specialized van.

It broke down a couple months ago. The fuel pump, gas tank and his wheelchair lift all had problems. Joey had to depend on a transportation company to get him where he needed to go, but the cost was getting to be too much.

Then it happened -- help came out of nowhere. Terry Franz who runs Cars 4 Heroes and Cars 4 Christmas got a phone call.

"A woman emailed a pastor, the pastor contacted Fox 4 and Fox 4 contacted me, so I contacted all the people out here at Bret's Autoworks and asked if they'd do a little work." Franz explained.

J.B. Koon is a service manager with Bret's Autoworks. He said helping Terry help Joey was a no brainer.

"We got parts to repair the fuel tank through Napa Auto Parts and put it back up in there and got car running. Then we looked it over and made sure there were no other safety concerns."

But Franz says the help didn't end there.

"Because it's a specialized vehicle, we called United Access, which does all our wheel chair lifts. They donated some stuff and fixed the door so it worked right," added Franz.

Joey saw the repaired van on Wednesday and was able to try out the new lift. Then he thanked all those who helped him.

"Glad they are around to help people, because I don't know how I would have got it fixed other wise and I want to thank them for all the hard work they done on it." said Joey.

Franz and Koon deflected the credit. Instead they said they were just happy to help.

Koon said, "Just to hear him say he has that freedom to have transportation and not have to wait for people or do anything like that, i think its great we can give that back to him."

Franz added, "This is what Cars 4 Heroes and Cars 4 Christmas is designed too do."

Joey also urged anyone looking to get rid of an old or extra car, to call Franz. Franz appreciated the gesture and welcomes any donations.

"We take everything, it doesn't matter if they are running or not we got a lot of help like these guys that help repair them, Napa gives us the parts and we just need the vehicles right now, donations are down and unfortunately requests are up." said Franz.

If you would like to learn how you can help, visit cars4heroes.org

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