Katherine McClure has three of the most active boys you’re likely to see, and she’s been relying on the Janesville bus system to get around since 2015.
That will soon change.
Friday, the Janesville woman was presented with the keys to a 2013 Nissan Sentra free of charge.
Her son Carl-Michael, 6, got so excited he climbed in through an open window and honked the horn. The other two boys, Aaron, 8, and Nathaniel, 4, were soon inside as well, vying to sit in the driver’s seat.
The boys had sat patiently before and during the ceremony, but it took several minutes for the adults to get them out of the car as their joy overflowed.
McClure still has to get the car inspected before she can put plates on it and drive into a better future. That’s because it was deemed a total loss by an insurance company.
But instead of being sold to a salvage dealer, the car got a new lease on life through the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program.
Gerber Collision & Glass, 2627 Morse St., Janesville, and Esurance were the main sponsors of the giveaway, but 26 sponsors contributed car parts or accompanying gifts, such as a free oil change, to make it happen.
McClure cried as the presentation began.
“I’m thrilled for her because I know how life-changing an automobile is when you do not have one and you need to get to the market and get to your job and get to school,” said Angela Moore, executive director of YWCA Rock County.
The YWCA’s Domestic Violence Women’s Shelter brought McClure’s name to the program benefactors.
Affordable housing, child care and transportation are the three major needs of people dealing with poverty, Moore said. The McClures have the first two through the YWCA’s Transitional Housing Program, but transportation was missing.
Gerber Collision & Glass manager Brian Sullivan said the 19 Gerber shops in Wisconsin have made 15 similar presentations over the past seven years. This was the first in Janesville, where Gerber recently acquired the former Gates Collision Center.
“I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling,” Sullivan said to McClure. “... Taking reliable transportation for granted is just something we all do, and for us to be able to do this for Katherine and for her boys is, you know, pretty special. It’s a great thing. It makes everybody happy.
“It’s helping you get your life on track, which is what we want to see,” Sullivan continued. “One person at a time, one day at a time is all you can do.”
McClure, a shift lead manager for Firehouse Subs, said in addition to getting around town, the car will allow the family to visit family in Missouri.
She said she had planned to buy a car using her income tax refund. She said she was shocked, surprised and happy when she found out a month ago she would be getting a car for free.
Friday, she added grateful to the list.