'The Car Santa' Gives Big Gift To Oklahoma Veteran

Friday, August 24th 2012, 10:22 pm
By: News On 6

The Car Santa is in Green Country giving away wheels to a veteran in need.

OSU Okmulgee fixed up a 1998 Oldsmobile Silhouette van and had "Cars 4 Heroes" find them a veteran to give it to for free.

It's a dream come true for Sarah Venis, a member of the National Guard, who served one tour in Afghanistan.

Before she was deployed her car broke down, and since she's been back on U.S. soil, things haven't gone as she'd planned.

"I'll be working nights pretty soon and I won't have a way to get home, and so this is impeccable timing. I don't know why they chose me, but thank you," Venis said.

An automotive service class teamed up with a Kansas City non-profit called "Cars 4 Heroes."

"The school called me up and said 'Hey can you find a veteran if we fix it up?'" Terry Franz, with Cars 4 Heroes, said. "NAPA Auto Parts gave us the parts and they put it together, and she's ready to roll."

"Cars 4 Heroes" gives away more than 300 cars each year.

This is the first time The Car Santa has come to Oklahoma.

"There's nothing better than saying thanks to our vets, because they don't get enough thank yous," Franz said.

Alex Stegeman is one of the students who spent the last couple of months working on the van.

"I needed a project for the end of school and I kind of just raised my hand for the van and was like 'I'll do it,'" Stegeman said. "It feels great, it really does. I'm glad that she got the car."

Venis said she felt unworthy, but grateful.

"I wanted to do my dream, so that my kids could do theirs, and I love my country, so I don't think I deserve anything extra for something I really wanted to do," she said.

Venis fought back the tears as she was handed the keys to her new car.

If you know of any veterans who are deserving of a car, they can apply on the "Cars 4 Heroes" website.