Local veteran receives free car from annual 60 days of giving tradition

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local car dealership is getting into the giving spirit by giving away a car to a deserving community member and after receiving hundreds of nominations, this year's recipient of the Morrie's Mazda 60 days of giving is a Chippewa Falls veteran.

James Heber is all smiles after his big surprise. "It was definitely unexpected; I still can't really put into words the feeling of gratefulness,” said veteran, James Heber after being surprised with a new car.

He was asked to come outside to help with a donation, but little did he know someone was donating a car for him. When describing the moment he realized the car was for him, "There are no words,” Heber said.

James Heber is staying at the veterans housing and recovery program for homeless veterans in Chippewa Falls and he was nominated by his case manager, Dana Schimmel.

"That was fun because he was totally surprised, had no idea what we were up to at all,” said Dana Schimmel, who is James’ case manager.

After working with James for several months, she noticed how selfless he was and always spent time volunteering. But even in the winter he was riding his bike 7 or 8 miles to work each day. But all of that has changed with his new free car. "It helps a lot because sometimes you are trying to get from point A to Point B and it can take you up to 2 hours to walk somewhere or even ride a bike somewhere is at least 45 minutes to an hour so this will definitely help with that,” Heber said.

The car is giving him the freedom and independence to keep moving forward. "It's definitely a nice feeling to be a little bit more mobile instead of relying on someone else to take you everywhere,” Heber said.

In addition to the new car, Mega Co-op gave him a year's supply of gas for free to help him get around.