ROXBURY, NJ – True heroes often take care of themselves last and they never go around talking about their good deeds. That’s the kind of person sought by Nancy Knight.
Knight, of Knight’s Automotive Repair in Ledgewood, is seeking nominations for this year’s Wheels to Prosper program. Each year, the shop refurbishes a used car and gives it to a local unheralded hero who needs a better vehicle.
“We’ve been participating in this for about six years now,” Knight said. “We’re looking for someone who gives back to the community or helps their family extensively and needs a car.”
She is asking people to submit nominations by Aug. 30. A panel of local people go over the nominations and decide which nominee most deserves the car.
This year’s vehicle, a 2009 Hyundai Accent, was a donation from a Knight’s Automotive customer, Knight said. “It needed a timing belt and cylinder head work,” she said.
Knight’s Automotive (a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor) fixed the engine and the brakes, installed a new battery, flushed the transmission, changed the oil, installed sway-bar links and more. “We completely reconditioned the car,” Knight said.
She noted that Ken’s Automotive of Ledgewood, (also a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor) went over the Hyundai inside and out and repaired any cosmetic issues.
Knight’s gives the car recipient free oil changes for a year but wants vehicle recipients to be responsible owners. “We look for somebody that can maintain a car,” Knight said. “These cars are in pretty good condition. They are not low mileage, but we do refurbish them and make them very reliable.”
Now that this year’s vehicle is ready to be given away – probably in the early fall - Knight’s Automotive needs to gather more nominees. Knight said a few names have been submitted.
“My main thing is, there are so many people on the local level that do so much for others that nobody hears about,” she said. . “It’s about these people who are volunteering their time and who might need some help. People that are selfless and humble. They are usually shocked and surprised that somebody nominated them.”
Knight is urging people to think of “anyone in your family, neighborhood, volunteer group, co-worker or house of worship who has given selflessly to their community” and write a brief description of that person and why they need a better vehicle.
Nominations must include the nominee’s name and contact information, as well as that of the person making the nomination. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, mailed to Knight’s Automotive Repair at 171 East Main Street, Ledgewood, NJ 07852 or dropped off at the shop.
Knight said the response to the Wheels to Prosper program has been fulfilling. “I have had tons of thank you letters,” she said. “I just had the sister of the girl who won last time … telling me all the stuff her sister continued to do. She was able to do a lot more. She was not getting stuck anymore and not driving around with a car with a hole in the floor.”