By Mindy Ragan Wood
A local disabled veteran who lost his auto repair garage and personal vehicle to a fire received a special gift last Thursday afternoon.
The American Legion Post 160 presented a check for $1,698.50 to Stanley Bowlware but the charity did not stop there. Christian Brothers Garage owner Tom Beadel donated a refurbished 1998 Nissan Quest van.
Bowlware worked on cars for friends and neighbors at a shop next to his home at 818 Sycamore Avenue in March. He tried to put the fire out, but it got out of control. Inside several cars including his own were burned and the structure was destroyed. The fire was
ruled an accident by Yukon fire investigators.
“It makes me feel blessed and also humbled,” Bowlware said. “I can’t believe it.”
American Legion Commander Eddie McFadden said the legion veterans spearheaded the effort with Scott and Sheila Spangler of Air Flow Technologies. The veterans matched the Spangler’s financial donation of $1,000 minus registration costs and taxes for the van.
McFadden contacted Christian Brothers to see if the owner could help Bowlware with a car.
“I said that would be absolutely perfect for what we’re looking to do,” Beadel said. “I remembered the fire and watching it as the smoke barreled from this place. It was just crazy. We’re able to help someone in the community which is changing lives. That’s what we’re about.”
Beadel started a program a year ago to donate cars to people in need. He purchases some but others are donated. The van he gave to Bowlware was donated to the garage after the owner decided not to proceed with the costly repairs. The garage also provided a van to a single mother with three children who sold her car to make a rent payment.
Ben Martin, a veteran who owns R&B Turf and Tree donated his time to clean up the grounds. He cut down a tree, trimmed another one that was creeping along the roof of the home and trimmed the hedges around the house.
“Ben, when he first found out a I had a van to donate he said, ‘whatever you do with that, you let me know,’” Beadel said. “I want to go landscape their yard, I want to help, I want to do something else.”
Martin donated at least $3,000 worth of landscaping work to Bowlware.
Bowlware plans to donate part of the funds to his church, Trinity Baptist where he attends a Bible study with the Spanglers and to the Faith Clinic.
He served in the U.S. Airforce from 1973 to 1975.
The American Legion motto is “Veterans serving veterans and community.”