Since the year 2000, Evelyn Peterson and her husband drove a 1989 Cadillac DeVille. They could always count on that DeVille for a smooth ride, safely carrying them to their destination and home again.
After her husband’s death last year, Evelyn thought maybe the car could serve another family as well as it had served them. And so, knowing it would go to a local family in need, she donated the DeVille to Free To Be, Inc.
The non-profit organization assists Anoka County residents who are challenged with transportation issues.
It happily received the Cadillac and called Coon Rapids Service (one of more than a dozen local car shops donating service and labor to Free To Be, Inc.) to give it a good look-over and tune-up before offering it to a family in need.
Turns out, Coon Rapids Service already knew that DeVille inside and out – Evelyn and her husband had brought the Cadillac to the service station for regular check-ups and maintenance during the 13 years they owned the car.
“We were really excited to do this since we know this car,” Coon Rapids Service owner Chuck Szaflarski said Sept. 19, the day the car was presented to Debbie Carlson of Blaine.
And Carlson was equally thrilled to receive the car.
“This car is beautiful. It will help us out so much to have it. We are so grateful,” Carlson said.
Peterson and Szaflarski presented Carlson with the keys to the car as Free To Be, Inc. Executive Director Jim Huff witnessed the Sept. 19 exchange at Coon Rapids Service.
In the weeks before the keys were presented the service station replaced wiper blades, struts and drive shaft, put on a new set of tires and filled the tank with gas.
Coon Rapids Service donated the labor, NAPA donated the parts and Perfect 10 of Blaine detailed the DeVille at no cost.
“It’s a collaborative effort involving donations from many people: Coon Rapids Service, NAPA, Perfect 10, and, of course, Evelyn,” said Huff.
“We’re so grateful to be able to do what we do, helping people right here in Anoka County.”
According to Huff, since the year 2000, Free To Be, Inc. has given away more than 850 vehicles and repaired more than 3,500 vehicles for Anoka County residents in need of help with transportation.
The non-profit organization welcomes donations of vehicles, volunteer hours and support, Huff said.
To learn more about Free To Be, Inc., call 763-717-7755 or visit www.FreeToBeInc.org.
Sue Austreng is at