Dexter Veteran Wins a Much Needed Car

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A year ago, Dexter veteran Frank Sartor could not have imagined how his life would look by the end of this year.

Sartor has lived in Dexter for less than a year. While born and raised in the Detroit area, he maintains he “grew up” during his overseas military service in Korea during the 1970s. “The military gives you a different insight into the world,” says Frank. “Being overseas is something everyone should experience.”

Shortly after moving to town from a neighborhood where he didn’t feel safe, someone knocked on his door, offering him a free pizza gift card. The gift card was part of Hope Community Church’s outreach program. The friendly face told Frank, “Take the card. Come to church or don’t, but you can have the card.”

Frank decided to go ahead and give the church a try. Anyone who knows Frank would agree that he’s a very personable guy. During the fellowship, he started conversing with a church member, Andrea. During their chat, Frank conveyed his frustration at his lack of transportation.

Sartor shared his frustration in relying on others to drive him to visit his sons on the west side of the state, 170 miles away in Twin Lake just north of Muskegon. Things hit rock bottom when he saved up to pay someone to drive him, and that car broke down. Frank’s warm personality and Andrea’s listening ear were a providential match.

Andrea listens to 103.5 FM, WMUZ. The station was advertising a car giveaway at the time. The station was going to award a car to a local Veteran on Veterans Day. Just send in nominations, and they would select a lucky recipient.

Andrea prodded Frank to write a short piece about his situation. He did, and she sent it in with her nomination. In his letter, Frank told WMUZ who he was and how life had improved for him and his daughter since moving to Dexter. He also explained why he so desperately needed to see his sons.

“My sons are making the best of it in Twin Lake, where I’ve been trying so hard to visit and help them, but more so just to see them. I haven’t seen them since their mom died because I don’t have a vehicle. I have arranged three times in the past and paid people to take us there to visit, but they just took our money, and we never got there.”

“With a vehicle, I’ll be able to visit them and help them do what they want and what their mom was trying to do, ensuring Gabriel graduated from high school. They’re trying hard, and that’s his mom’s dying wish for him. Otherwise, they would be here. I want to help them succeed.”

Frank didn’t think much about the letter and went about his life. Ironically, one day while the veteran was waiting for the bus to take him to the VA, where he volunteers, Frank got the call that he had won the car. Sartor initially didn’t believe them and thought it was probably a scam. But as the conversation continued, he recognized his submission had indeed won the car.

Frank received his car, a used Buick in good condition, on Nov. 11 from Charity Motors in the thick of the Thanksgiving season. It’s his first vehicle in ten years. He doesn’t understand why his nomination was the winner, but it gives him freedom he hasn’t known in a decade, and in his words, “The option of freedom is a great thing.”

Photo: Frank Sartor with the Buick he won. Photo by of Tracy Dickinson.

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