Free car delights mom

Published 10:46pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When it comes to Deals on Wheels, it’s hard to beat free.
Especially when you didn’t know you were in the running.
For probably 10 years Lou Dominion has been giving away “five or six” cars each Christmas in Benton Harbor. Deals on Wheels also has a location in Bridgman.
This year, “Santa Lou” decided to also award a vehicle through the Dowagiac lot on M-51 South selected from online entries submitted to radio station WIRX.
That’s the deal for Ashley Dunivan of Dowagiac, who won the 2005 Cavalier.
She didn’t know she was being considered because her stepmother entered her until her father called and “told me I won a car,” she recalled Wednesday.
“I cried,” the 26-year-old single mom with two children, 6 and 2, who graduated from Buchanan High School in 2003. “Stuff like that doesn’t happen to me. I was definitely shocked.”
Jaime Viteri, who manages the Dowagiac location for Dominion, visibly winced Tuesday describing the decrepit Caravan with 262,000 miles, a dragging muffler and front wheels making their way into the engine well that Dunivan swapped for dependable transportation.
Dunivan said she’s been driving the “scary” rusty ride for the past year and a half to two years. She used to be a waitress at the Texas Roadhouse on Michigan Avenue in South Bend, Ind., but for the past 4 1/2 months she’s been assistant manager at Game Stop in Benton Harbor.
Ashley is also attending Southwestern Michigan College to become a medical assistant.
“I definitely needed it,” she said of the Cavalier. “I like it so far. It drives well in the snow.”
“We’re happy to help,” said Dominion, who also awarded Marsha Best of Dowagiac with $1,000 worth of repairs. “We try to help people as much as we can.
“Christmas is about giving.”

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