KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- He helped give us the gift of freedom by serving this great country, now a local Army Reservist down on his luck is getting a gift of his own. It's all part of a local program called Cars 4 Heroes.
As a civilian, Jesse Thorsen is a husband, father and bricklayer, struggling to find work. But for one weekend each month, just like his tattoo states, he's property of the US Army Reserves.
Thorsen enlisted two days after 9/11/2001
"I wanted to go and defend our country," Thorsen said.
At the end of this month he will deploy for his second tour in Afghanistan.
"I think the transition period between being a military member and being a civilian is tough. The current state of our economy makes it tough for anybody," he said.
For one year, Thorsen will leave behind his wife and two daughters. While he's away he worried that their car that's seen 220,000 miles wasn't going to hold up. Thanks to Cars 4 Heroes, that burden is lifted.
"We're gonna take him outside here and present him with a mini van so his wife and kids can get around this winter while hes serving all of us," said Thorsen.
Presented with a family van, Thorsen says it's life changing.
"It makes it a lot easier to focus on my mission and not have to worry about how shes getting around and everything's okay at home," he said.
Terry Franz started cars 4 Heroes 17 years ago and says it's a small gift to give considering what we all receive.
"When we can put a car together and actually change somebody's life and that's what we're doing here, we're giving him piece of mind. Hes going to war to fight for us so its a small thing that we do to make sure he has transportation for his family," he said.
Cars 4 Heroes gives away more than 300 cars a year, mostly to veterans. They take donated cars and with the help of Napa Auto Care and Parts they are able to fix them up and give them to people in need. For more information, visit www.cars4heroes.org.