Local sheriff’s office surprises mom of 2 after learning she walked miles to work each day

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OTTAWA, Kan. — Christine Wheeler didn’t have a working car for months. She’d been walking to work daily. But now, thanks to some generous sheriff’s deputies, she’ll be rolling around with a new set of wheels. 

“I am extremely happy. It makes me so glad that I can be able to drive and everything,” Wheeler said.

On Tuesday, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department surprised Wheeler with a full size van.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, why would they want to do this for me? This is insane,'” Wheeler said. 

Sgt. Jesse Vega said for the past couple weeks, they’ve received several calls about the 24-year-old woman walking on the highway.

Officers said they gave Wheeler rides but knew there was a better solution. Vega’s father was getting rid of an old van, but instead gave it to department to gift to Wheeler.

Thanks to donations from generous citizens and businesses — and the use of “No Shave November” funds — the sheriff’s department was also able to donate two new car seats, a Price Chopper gift card and $200, the agency wrote on Facebook. Plus, they took care of registering the van and the first year of car insurance.

“It was pretty cool to have something that was emotional in a positive way because you don’t always get that on this job,” Vega said. 

Wheeler used to walk more than 6 miles down 59 Highway to get to work every day. She said grocery shopping and getting her two kids out the house was also a task. 

Thanks to the van, her life is getting a little easier.

“With the vehicle, I plan on getting it insured and everything, then I’m going grocery shopping. That’s like the first thing I’m doing,” Wheeler said. 

With it being cold outside, Wheeler said she’s grateful to have a warm ride.

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