Stranded AF sergeant gets his car fixed, free
After his car broke down 35 miles outside of Price last month, Rowan Coash wasn't sure how things would work out.
He wondered how he would ever get his car back from a place around 1,000 miles away from his destination in San Antonio, Texas where he had to report for duty with the U.S. Air Force earlier this month.
But after receiving help from many strangers in the community, Coash, a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, will be getting his car back and in good working condition.
Tony Basso GM offered to cover the cost of the repairs at no cost to Coash after hearing the news of his story through social media.
"Everyone at the shop wanted to jump in and help Rowan out after they heard about his story," said Karly Houskeeper, a marketing director with Tony Basso GM.
Houskeeper said the car, a 2005 Toyota Corolla Coash named "Suzie", had a blown engine that needed to be completely replaced.
Coash said he was driving along U.S. 6 when the engine "just kind of shut down on me," leaving him stranded in an unfamiliar place. Coash was in the midst of a long road trip starting in Vancouver, Wash., to San Antonio with enough time to complete the trip and report on time for duty at the beginning of June. But the car troubles had him worrying not only about the car and the costs to repair it, but also about not making it to San Antonio on time and being considered absent without leave by the Air Force.
Coash was able to get the car towed into Price and checked out by a repair shop that told him it could take up to 10 days to complete the repairs which were expected to be a few thousand dollars.
He contacted a friend, Erica Krochmalny, through social media and asked for help. Krochmalny immediately sent out a message on Facebook searching for help in the area. Within just two hours, Coash was able to get the necessary help.
"I put the post on Facebook and it just spread like wildfire from there," Krochmalny told the Sun Advocate earlier this month.
Help came in all forms thanks to social media including from Leslie and Rob Holmes, of Price, who said they "were more than happy to help" store the car with the extra space in the garage of their home along 300 South. Randy Misner, a U.S. Army veteran, saw the story about Coash on social media and quickly began spreading the message asking if anyone could help out a serviceman in need.
While this was going on, Coash stayed the night in Price before renting a car the following day to continue his trip to Texas. Coash said he was able to safely arrive in Texas before his report date thanks to the help he received from various people in Price.
The repairs to the Corolla have been estimated to be over $3,500, but Coash won't need to pay a penny.
"We just said whatever it takes to help him out, we'll take care of it," said Houskeeper.
The car is waiting to be transported down to Coash in San Antonio. The transportation costs will be about $1,000, according to Houskeeper.
Despite the costs, Houskeeper said the chance to help someone, especially a person like Coash who serves the country, was something everyone at the dealership was proud to be a part of.
"It's such an amazing experience to help someone like Rowan out and everyone here was happy to be a part of that," she said.