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ABC Action News.com | September 6, 2010

Wheels of Success helps get families on the right road

TAMPA - It was like Christmas morning, when Katie Cox got the keys to her future.

"I'm 20 years old and I don't even know how to drive," she said, clutching the keys -- and her infant son Keiran. "It's pretty sad."

But the new mom is beaming. Her smile comes from the fact that she knows that the 2000 Intrigue -- given to her through the "Wheels of Success" program -- may have been someone's old car, but it is her new way out of the slow lane. One where she and her fiance Sam have had to rely on public transportation to get everywhere from job sites to pediatrician visits.

"[Having a car] makes it a lot easier," said Cox. "I can spend a lot more time with Kieran. I don't have to catch as many busses."

It is that sort of story that drew former Buccaneer Linebacker Ryan Nece into this program. Wheels of Success has helped put nearly 350 families into donated used -- but still usable -- vehicles.

"They just kind of need a helping hand to get them a hand up. Without this transportation their life could become unravelled," said Nece.
"And the cars," he continued, "they come from all over. It has been amazing."

And as exciting as it is for these first time recipients, there are some folks even more excited to come back.

"It helps a family. It helps the whole community," said Lenore Hubbard, who spoke with us about the program when she got her "new" Nissan Altima last Labor Day.

And after 12 months of making $50 payments and working community service hours, she got the title to the car today.

"We've been able to move to a better neighborhood," she said. "My kids have been able to come to a better school. I'm able to work more hours, instead of being stuck on a bus all day long, and take myself to school to get my bachelors degree in nursing."

That's the sort of follow-up Katie's hoping to tell us about ... down the road ... next year.

 
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