When a 68-year-old Pueblo, Colo., man lost his 42-year-old Chevrolet Nova in a fire on Dec. 21, he didn't just lose his daily driver, he also lost a family heriloom.
But, thanks to the generosity of a police officer and a local car dealership, Andrew Wilhan is back on the road.
The Pueblo Chieftain reported in its Jan. 17 issue that Wilhan was inside a bank on Pueblo’s south side when the car caught fire. When he tried to get a fire extinguisher from one of the bank employees, he was told the fire extinguisher could not be taken out of the building. "By the time I got back outside (the fire) was going pretty good," Wilhan told the Chieftain.
In panic, he tried to enter the car to put the fire out or grab belongings. He wounded a leg in his effort.
The car was purchased new 42 years ago by his parents, now deceased. "It had a lot of sentimental value" he said of the Nova. "It had been in the family a long time."
It was the only form of transportation for the retired country club janitor.
The rookie police officer who handled the call was touched by Wilhan’s story and decided to see if she could help. Officer Deb Romano approached E-Z Way Auto Sales who handed Wilhans the keys to a 1991 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.
"I thought it was pretty nice, mighty nice of officer Romano and that car dealership," Wilhan told the Chieftain. "I’m 68 years old. I pay bills and all that kind of stuff, but it’d be a real job to do that without a car. I think it’s a nice looking car."
Officer Romano didn’t stop there. She also brought Wilhan about $50 in Christmas presents and food for his cats.
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