BELFAST, Maine — Later this month, a resident of Knox or Waldo counties who frequently helps others will receive a bit of help themselves: a free ride.
As part of a national program, a Rockport auto shop is accepting nominations for individuals who volunteer or give back to their communities but who are, themselves, struggling to get by financially.
A four-person review committee will then decide which nominee would benefit most from a free, used car. The vehicle, in this case a 2001 Volkswagen Passat sedan, has been repaired, inspected and detailed by several local auto repair or service shops.
Steve Dixson, owner of Rockport Automotive, said the idea for the giveaway came from a consulting firm that works with auto shops to boost their profits through seminars and special programs.
Eleven shops around the country will participate in the first-annual “Wheels to Prosper” event, with each giving away at least one used car in good working condition on July 30. Dixson said each shop was allowed to set the eligibility criteria as long as the car goes to person involved in the community.
Dixson said his shop settled on the following criteria: nominees must live in Waldo or Knox counties, must be “a giver” by nature who is active in one or more forms of community service and must be faced with economic challenges that would make it difficult to buy a car or repair an existing vehicle.
“This is somebody that is struggling financially and they just need a little help,” Dixson said. “And they are giving back to the community in some way.”
Nominations are being accepted through July 15, and Dixson said they are asking that nominations be made by someone other than the intended recipient. So far, Rockport Automotive has received nominations ranging from single parents, struggling families and volunteers who work with the elderly or disabled.
“I’ve got eight or 10 nominations and I wish I had eight or 10 cars to give away,” Dixson said.
The final selection will be made by four members of the West Bay Rotary Club. The other companies that have contributed to program in Maine are Dyer’s Detail, VIP Parts, Tires and Service and AAA of Northern New England.
For more information or to submit a nomination, go to http://www.rockportautomotive.com/wheels-to-prosper.asp or contact Rockport Automotive at 236-2431.