TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A local Kansas National Guardsman has new wheels and a way to get his special-needs son to therapy every week thanks to a nonprofit.
The Kansas National Guard says on Facebook that Sgt. Heriberto Cruz Meija’s car broke down this winter in a snowstorm, which sent his car into a ditch and left him with repairs he couldn’t afford.
“The cost to fix the car was more than I could afford to fix,” Cruz told the Guard.
The guard noted that Cruz works at Joint Operations Center Topeka but lives in Eskridge. He is a member of the 2nd Battalion, 235th Regiment as a Cooking Specialist Instructor – which means he travels to Salina every month.
Thanks to a local organization, Cruz can redo this route. The guard said the Family Readiness Program in Topeka heard about Cruz’s situation and recommended him for the Cars4Heroes program.
Cars4Heroes is a non-profit organization that provides free basic transportation to veterans, active duty military, first responders and their families who cannot obtain it on their own.
“Mission first, family always,” said Soldier and Family Readiness Specialist Kenton Sallee. “Without the support of the family, the soldier finds it difficult to carry out his mission. It’s our job to take care of them both. Unity cannot do everything. There are many programs that soldiers are not aware of. Our job is to show them the way.
The guard said Cars4Heroes gifted Cruz a 2007 Ford Focus on April 13. He said it had been helpful “beyond belief”.
“I can come to work without asking for help and without getting in the way of my colleagues,” Cruz said. “And also able to support my family.”
“But the most important thing is that I can take care of my son. He has special needs and is in therapy almost weekly. Since my fiancée works at the school, it is difficult for her to leave and take her, so I do. And thanks to this care, I am able to take it,” concluded Cruz.
For more information on Cars4Heroes, click HERE.
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