KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- To serve the United States of America is to put the needs of the country ahead of your own. For members of the U.S. Air Force Reserve it means working weekends and holidays, deployments, and putting your family and day job on the backburner in a moment's notice.
"It makes me feel proud to serve and, I just love this country," said Senior Airman Denise Padilla.
But for many members of the armed forces, life in the civilian world, proves just as tough.
"I find jobs but I can't get to them. I find day cares but I can't take them," Padilla said.
Thankfully for Padilla and many others just like her, there are people and programs who take notice.
"They are not asking for somebody to hand them something they just need the tools so they can go take care of it themselves and we provide that tool," Terry Franz, the metro's "Car Santa" said.
"I was trying to get to work every day. I was borrowing my mom's car and my friends cars," Padilla explained on Monday to the Cars 4 Heroes program.
On Monday, Cars 4 Heroes, with the help of Jay Wolfe Automotive, a blue minivan was donated to Padilla and her two young girls. For Padilla, who has been struggling to find a day job without reliable transportation, the gift is a huge relief.
"I'm just speechless. I can do so much more. Make it to work. Go back to school. Everywhere I go, I have that uniform on and I definitely feel all the love and support from strangers, family, friends. Its a good feeling. Its a rewarding feeling," she said.
Jay Wolfe Automotive group donated two cars to give to military members and veterans on Monday. Cars 4 Heroes said they receive over 20,000 requests every year from people and veterans in need, most of those from in and around the metro.