NEW ULM - A new vehicle has hit the streets of New Ulm, a silver 2009 Dodge Journey. The vehicle has recently been restored by Jerry's Body Shop in Mankato, and it looks brand new. The vehicle owners are Sally Beltz and Douglas Foster. The couple was nominated for a vehicle donation program run by Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC), and last Tuesday it was announced they had been selected.
Beltz is originally from New Ulm, but she briefly lived in Atlanta, Georgia, where she met Foster. The two chose to move back to New Ulm to raise their son Douglas Jr. Since moving to New Ulm two years ago Beltz and Foster had been without personal transportation, making winter commutes a difficult task. For two years the couple depended on public transportation, the kindness of friends and family to get around town. Foster's daily commute to work involved a 11-block walk.
Beltz explained they had intended to purchase a vehicle this year after taxes, but thanks to MVAC and Jerry's Body Shop, the couple may use their refund for something else.
The Dodge Journey was donated to Jerry's Body Shop and the MVAC following a collision with a deer. After a couple grand worth of repairs the vehicle was gifted to this family in need. MVAC has run a program for years in which donated vehicles are fixed and sold to low income families.
Beltz described the vehicle as a blessing. The couple has only had the vehicle for a day, but already it has proved useful. "Having a vehicle saves an hour and half of my life," said Beltz. As luck would have it the vehicle was given to the couple the day before Beltz's birthday.