2018-08-03 / Front Page

Collision center gives gift of transportation

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer


Jessica Scott, third from front left, of Scarborough, along with daughter, Alaina, and son, Trevor, celebrate with employees at the Moody’s Collision Center in Scarborough July 25, upon the gift of a 2008 Nissan Altima, replacing a 2006 model totaled last fall. (Courtesy photo) Jessica Scott, third from front left, of Scarborough, along with daughter, Alaina, and son, Trevor, celebrate with employees at the Moody’s Collision Center in Scarborough July 25, upon the gift of a 2008 Nissan Altima, replacing a 2006 model totaled last fall. (Courtesy photo) A Scarborough single mom in need and her children are getting around a little easier thanks to the timely gift of a car.

On Wednesday, Moody’s Collision Center gave a fully repaired 2008 Nissan Altima to Jessica Scott, replacing a 2006 model she lost in an accident last fall.

For Scott, 44, the donation could not have come at a better time. The mother of five still has two minors to care for, but is currently unemployed with no place to live — developments that occured since her youngest son, Trevor, age 9 was diagnosed with Leukemia.

“This is the best thing, besides my son getting better, that could have happened to my family. I am just so grateful,” she said in a July 30 interview.


Jessica Scott and her son, Trevor, look over their new vehicle, a Nisson Altima courtesy of Moody Collision Center in Scarborough. (Courtesy photo) Jessica Scott and her son, Trevor, look over their new vehicle, a Nisson Altima courtesy of Moody Collision Center in Scarborough. (Courtesy photo) “We typically do one of these gifts per year to nonprofits or individuals in need,” said Patti Damon a community account manager at Moody’s Scarborough location. Last year, the company provided a new van to the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

To furnish the new vehicle, Moody’s partners with an area insurance company, in this case State Farm, through the Recycled Rides Program.

The insurance company donates a vehicle it has acquired that is less damaged that the one lost, and Moody’s then makes repairs to make it road worthy. In this case, Motorvation, a garage located on Pleasant Hill Road, donated materials and labor for additional mechanical work, while Enterprise Rent-A-Car provided a rental car while Moody’s repaired the donated vehicle.

To go along with the new car, Scott also received one year of full vehicle insurance, free.

“We are huge into giving back to our communities,” Damon said. “We have 180 co-workers in 11 locations and each of them are touched by their community every time someone comes in with their car and needs it to be fixed. So, this is just a way for us to give back, using our skills to affect somebody’s life in a positive way.”

Damon said Moody’s was approached by Florence Lusk, a guidance counselor and social worker at Scarbrough High School who is familiar with the Scott family and their situation. Lusk could not be reached for comment, but Damon said the social worker did not actually know about Moody’s annual Recycled Rides gift. She was just calling around trying to find willing aid.

“She reached out to us because, on at least one occasion, Jessica had to take a cab to get Trevor to his treatments,” Damon said. “She just wondered if we had a vehicle on the lot we might be able to repair to help out. Of course we were happy to help. We know first-hand the financial impact on a family when they lose a vehicle unexpectedly and know it’s a burden that not every family can absorb.”

Although guarded about her privacy, Scott was willing to discuss her situation, in order to pay it forward in her own way, by publicizing the Recycled Rides program to others who may be in need and, like Lusk, unaware such a thing exists.

“It was completely surreal. I don’t like people feeling sorry for me. I don’t really know how to ask for help and I don’t do it very well,” Scott said. “I wasn’t really aware that anybody even knew what we were going through. For Ms. Lusk and Moody’s and everyone else to totally go out of their way for us, it was really the biggest blessing. When I found out about the car, I just broke down and cried like a big baby.”

A heavy equipment operator and mechanic by trade, Scott, 44, moved to Scarborough four years ago for a job. While she did not want to discuss past relationships, the one she was in at the time ended last fall. After two weeks of living in a motel, Scott had just found a new place and moved in on brisk Sunday last November. The new place did not yet have any heat, however, so her daughter and an adult son took the car on an errand to fetch enough K-1 to get through until a delivery could be arranged.

“They were going to make a left-hand turn and somebody in the oncoming traffic waved them on, as if to say, ‘I’ll wait for you to go,’” Scott explained. “But then someone came up the right lane and slammed into the side of the car. But, because they were turning, it wasn’t the other person’s fault.”

Scott only had liability insurance on that car, an older 2006 Nissan Altima. With her experience she knew the vehicle was a total loss. As an 11-year vehicle with more than 210,000 miles on it, it simply wasn’t worth fixing, even if Scott had had the money for repairs.

Making matters worse, the accident came right on the heels of learning that Trevor has leukemia.

“That was a complete shock,” Scott said, nearing tears at the memory. “When he was diagnosed, I thought he just had strep throat and went to the walk-in care. Luckily, the doctor there recognized things I couldn’t have known and sent us by ambulance to the hospital. We were all in a daze for a little while. It just didn’t seem real.”

These days, Trevor is nearing the end of his treatments, and his hair is growing back.

“He’s doing amazing,” Scott said. “He’s such a strong kid. He has such a great attitude and is a fighter all the way. He’s had so many procedures and treatments, but he’s almost into the maintenance phase, although that will last for a couple more years.”

But that was not the end of the family’s challenges. Scott has been given time off from work, but with Trevor and his needs her top priority, she was not able to maintain a full-time schedule upon her return, and lost her job. On top of that, the rent the family had moved into last fall was only for the winter. Without a job, she has not been able to find a new place to live.

Scott says her two school-aged children are happy and doing well in the Scarborough school system, so, she wants to stay in the area. That makes crashing with her mother in Lyman a bit out of the way. Since getting the new car from Moody’s she has resorted to using it as a place to sleep.

“Yeah, very now and then, if I have to,” she admitted. “If Trevor goes to his dad’s and Alaina is somewhere else, I have slept in the car a couple of times.”

“It’s been a rocky road, a real conglomeration of a lot of really horrible things,” Scott said, explaining her emotions when informed of Moody’s gift.

“I’d just like to say how amazing this community is and how amazing and supportive everyone has been,” Scott said. “It’s been a big blessing in such a stressful time for is. It’s so nice to know there are good people out there. I’m just hopeful that by agreeing to talk about this, that people will learn about this program and that someone else can be helped.”

Now, with Trevor getting better, and with a car to get around, Scott is hoping she’ll soon find a new job and then a permanent place to live.

“Like I said, I’m not someone who is really comfortable having others do things for me. I prefer to take care of myself,” she said. “I’m perfectly able to work. I’d like to get back to it as soon as possible.”

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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