'Biggest Blessing': Rydell gives free cars to a dozen abuse victims – INFORUM

GRAND FORKS — It was an early Christmas gift for a dozen women in Grand Forks on Monday, Dec. 19,.

It was a sight that left Casey Torgerson practically speechless: a used GMC Terrain, one of the “Angels on Wheels.”

“It’s going to allow me to have freedom again,” said Torgerson. “I’ve got teenage kids that need to be to school and work and places, and I haven’t been able to take them for months.”

All the cars were free from Rydell thanks to a partnership with the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC).

Each car has a value of about $10,000, and has been fully inspected, repaired and detailed. Rydell also included a $500 gift card to put toward maintenance, and Safe Kids Grand Forks provided the families with proper car seats.

“They deal with some pretty challenging situations, and some people that are in some really difficult situations that need a lot more than just a vehicle,” said Rydell general manager Ben Cahalan.

These cars and SUVS are not feel-good gifts. They are putting women like Nancy Escobedo into the driver’s seat when it comes to safety.

She, along with her 7-year-old son who has mental disabilities, had just escaped a violent relationship.

“Having a reliable means of transportation means a lot, especially coming from a person like me who has been through what I have been through,” said Escobedo.

The cars are a key part of building hope.

For many CVIC clients, the lack of a car prevents them from leaving a violent relationship. For those who do leave, the journey to self-sufficiency can be a bumpy road due to the lack of reliable transportation to keep a steady job and manage daily activities.

“There’s a story to each one of us. To us it means something really important,” said Escobedo.

Torgerson is thankful for the blessing that she says is beyond anything she could have imagined.

“This will make my life so much easier. I will take the best care of this car that I ever had,” she said.


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