Woohoooooooo! My guardian angel, my hero, was one of six people honored at the White House yesterday by President Obama for creating an innovative program that is transforming communities.
I want to tell you about my angel. He may not even realize the impact he has had on my life. He may not even recognize my name because he has helped over 1,200 people.
A few short years ago, I experienced a job layoff and was unemployed for five months though I was out there every day looking for a job. Being over 50 years old made it that much more difficult. It had a huge impact on my finances and affected my credit. When I returned to work it was at a $15,000/yr. pay cut. Times were tough.
I found myself with a car that was constantly breaking down. I spent $1,200 on car repairs only to have it break down again the following week. A car loan was next to impossible, though I was never late with my previous car loan. My credit score suffered during my unemployment so the interest rate was going to be high.
I was watching local TV one evening. Surely, you've heard the saying "If it sounds too good to be true, well, it is". Not in this case.
They were portraying Robert Chambers who is president and co-founder of Bonnie CLAC. There was a write-up on him in "Time Magazine". Surely, this had to be reputable.
His experience working at an automobile dealership, watching low to medium-income individuals forced to pay high interest rates when they purchased cars, led him to form the organization. Headquartered in New Hampshire, Bonnie CLAC is an award-winning not-for-profit organization that helps people from all walks of life acquire fuel-efficient, affordable and reliable vehicles. They also reach out to people in Southern Maine and Vermont.
Bonnie CLAC's program helps clients build creditworthiness and provides car selection and purchase assistance (no money involved) to help low-and moderate-income individuals, create savings, improve their access to health care, and reduce carbon emissions into the environment. Since its founding in 2001, Bonnie CLAC has guaranteed over $12 million in loans for more than 1,200 clients, most of whom fall below HUD low-income guidelines.
I traveled to their office with my orange "check engine" light on. The trip was an hour away. I held my breath and prayed along the way. God doesn't allow the birds to go hungry. Surely He would help me keep my independence, allow me to have a reliable car so that I could get to work.
Besides the above, they require that you save the equivalent of a car payment each month for six months. If, during that time your car dies, they will loan you a car. For me, they reduced the waiting period to three months because I had already met many of the requirements.
I was able to select the new car that I wanted (within reason, of course) and was given a list of available colors. I selected a new Toyota Corolla.
That was three years ago. I don't know what I would have done without Bonnie CLAC's help during a difficult time in my life.
And here I am with my new car in the parking lot at work the day after I received it.
There was a time I was embarrassed to say I needed help. I am no longer embarrassed to tell you this story. If this story helps someone else in New England, it will make me very happy.
By the way, things have improved greatly since those days with the helping hand of this gentleman.
Won't you share your "guardian angel" with me and others!