Donated Van Helps Woman Achieve Her Dream

Posted at 7:56 PM, Feb 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-15 19:56:57-05

KENT COUNTY, Mich.– Imagine receiving a gift that is just the missing piece needed to achieve an important dream. That was the case for one Grand Rapids area woman when she received a new van.

I’Esha Hayes has the heart and the dedication, but she was missing one thing keeping her from achieving her dream.

While being homeless was rough, it did not stop her from wanting to become a pediatrician. However, not having a way to get around town, made it challenging.

“That was kind of rough, being pregnant and being homeless,” said Hayes.

“She suffers from arthritis and her biggest struggle was winter time,” said Barbara Zylstra, Family Promise, a housing agency in Grand Rapids. “Being outside in the cold, waiting for a bus was a real burden for her.”

Realizing Hayes’ strong desire to make it, Family Promise coordinated with Hansen Collision and Progressive to find a reliable vehicle for Hayes.

“I get this call from Barbara and she’s like, this is the day and the time I’m going to pick you up,” recalled Hayes. “I screamed so loud, like Oh my God!”

Progressive made sure the vehicle was structurally safe, and Hansen Collision volunteered man-power to get it ready.

“My heart goes out to everyone that supported me,” said Hayes. “Now that I have that van, I am able to make it to appointments, go back and forth to school. I’m a pre med student and I can’t stop!  I have to get my career going so me and my son can have a better life.”

“As an organization, to reach out and touch someone’s life,” said Kelly Gmazel of Hansen’s Collision, “It really makes you feel like your company’s mission means something.”

Hayes has two more years left of school.