Kelley Wunderlich woke up to her roommate saying, “The cops are here. They’re looking for you.” Groggy and confused, Kelley stumbled to the door. “All I was thinking was that I didn’t do anything,” she recounts. “I was home all night.”
The sophomore from Lakewood, Colorado, is not one to wake up to the police. When it came time to choose a college, she looked at schools along the Front Range, and Colorado Christian University stuck out. “I wanted to be in an atmosphere where people had the same beliefs and values – not where people stayed out every night partying. This is who I want to be.”
A product of public school, she loves the CCU culture. She speaks of being able to talk about God in class, and chapel is one of the aspects of the school she likes best. “I like that we take a break in the middle of the day to talk about God,” she says.
When the police woke her up, she had no idea why. The night before she had parked on a side street – there was no room in the CCU lot – and been at home. But when they had confirmed who she was, Kelley found out why the police had come. At quarter after six on a Tuesday morning, they led her to a burnt-out 2003 Ford Taurus. Her car.
It had been hit by an arsonist early that morning.
“I was in shock standing there,” she remembers. “My first thought, though, wasn’t anger. My first thought was that God will take care of me.”
Unfortunately for Wunderlich, the insurance on the older car didn’t provide for a new one. And, her job was far enough away that she had to borrow cars from her roommates – or her parents, who live ten minutes off campus. But, a replacement was out of the question. Kelley is saving for back surgery this December. And her parents are saving for a new roof. Their home was flooded during the torrential rains in Colorado this past September.
She had months of finding rides and borrowing cars ahead of her.
Until, that is, CCU staff reached out to Kevin Shaughnessy, the general manager of Phil Long Ford. “Occasionally something just hits you,” says Kevin. “As soon as I heard about it, I emailed our sales manager to see what we could do.”
“I’ve been a poor college student, too,” he adds, “and leaned on others for help, even when I probably didn’t deserve it.”
Kevin and his team recalled a Ford Taurus from auction. Then, they made sure it was completely road worthy – replacing the brakes, the windshield, fixing a head gasket and coolant censor. If they did this, they wanted to do it right.
In fact, Phil Long Ford is known for its charitable works. They are active in building playgrounds for communities that don’t have them. The various dealerships support the Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness, & Community Center in Trinidad, Colorado – which provides wellness checkups for those who can’t afford them.
Kelley’s car is the latest example of an ethos of giving. And, no one is happier about it than Kelley Wunderlich.
“At first, when I was told I was getting a free car, I figured I’d have to put a lot of money into it. But it has fewer miles than my old car.” She’s already put 300 miles on her new ride, and admits that she was happy to move from a gold Taurus to a black one.
“It’s like driving a miracle,” she says. “I enjoy it. I like to show it off.”