Familiar vehicle enters new stage in life of service

Sentimental ‘Mother’s Day’ donation from Lake Arbor Auto

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (May 3, 2024) – Hundreds of Lake Arbor Auto customers will look around the coming weeks and months and notice something is missing.

The automotive repair shop’s go-to loaner car, a 2004 PT Cruiser, which served so many drivers so reliably, is now in the loving hands of a teen mom at Hope House Colorado. The donation from Lake Arbor Automotive & Truck is part of an annual tradition that spans seven years, and this year’s gift comes with a few extra heart-strings.

“The PT Cruiser served us well, and it will continue to bring joy to a very deserving young driver, but it was the right time for the car to make this transition,” said Dana TePoel, owner of Lake Arbor Auto. “Ashley will have reliable transportation during these critical years of her life, when she is working so hard to raise her child.”

The recipient of the car is Ashley Sandoval, 19, who is the mother to Elias, 8 months old. She also receives the traditional year’s worth of free maintenance from Lake Arbor Auto as part of the donation. The full package is valued at $5,000.

“When I first joined Hope House, I had a car and I was at Hope House every day attending classes,” Ashley said. “Then things ended up going downhill. My boyfriend lost his job, I couldn’t work because baby Elias is breastfed, and nothing was going the way we planned it. Our little old Honda gave up and broke on us. But I am so blessed to say everything went how God wanted it. Thanks to Lake Arbor, Elias and I will have transportation.”

Hope House staff noticed Ashley’s diligence to work on her goals, making her a top candidate to receive the vehicle donation. Jenny Macias, director of partnerships at Hope House, said Ashley is focused and driven to complete her goals on her path to self-sufficiency.

“She is a kind presence and makes other moms feel welcome too, helping to build community in a space that Hope House has always desired to be a “place of belonging” for teen moms and their children,” said Macias.

Ashley is currently working to complete her high school education. Since becoming a Hope House mom, she has participated in Parenting 101, CPR certification, Homebuying 101, Book Club and Mom Fun activities. Macias added, “We greatly appreciate Lake Arbor’s ongoing support of the teen moms at Hope House, and the donation addresses a particular area of concern for all our young women who need to shuttle their kids to daycare, get themselves to work and school, etc. They don’t need anything fancy or sporty – just something that works dependably!”

The PT Cruiser certainly fits the “unfancy” description, and thanks to recent attention by technician Joey Smith of Lake Arbor Auto, the vehicle also fits the “dependable” description. TePoel originally purchased the vehicle from a customer who wanted to upgrade his ride. In the 12 years as a loaner, at least 400 different customers have benefited from its availability, according to LAA estimates.

“One guy had it for a month and said he loved driving it,” TePoel said. “When we got it back, all the radio station buttons were reset to talk programs!”

Over the course of its life as a loaner, the car gained 72,000 miles on the odometer. TePoel said he hopes Ashley drives the vehicle in good health, and he hopes that Elias remembers his Mom’s PT Cruiser fondly far into the future.