Well, the time has come for us to say good-bye to our ole friend…..the Volkswagen Passat. She faithfully served the staff of our WB & SC offices for the last 10 years. She proved to be reliable, most of the time, taking us on far away trips to meet with clients who couldn’t make it to our office. Or taking staff to important meetings and trainings. She stuck in there when we got her lost, and proved to be tough when driving through rough terrain, not knowing where we were going. In the winter months, she kept our bottoms warm with her heated seats and kept us entertained with a decent stereo system. And sometimes, we squeezed more people in her than we should have, but she didn’t complain.
Toward the end, she didn’t always feel up to par to drive us on any trips – she might have made that known as soon as we tried starting her up, or she might have led us on, taking us as far as she could before putting out in the middle of nowhere (she had a strange sense of humor). But we didn’t give up on her – we tended to all her care needs and we even polished her up once in a while. She made a lot of friends at the firm, although there were some who might have called her a “beast” – whether they felt she wasn’t pretty enough or she didn’t have a soothing purr about her, it didn’t matter. She was ours. And we were hers.
Although we know nothing lasts forever, you’re never quite prepared for that final farewell. Our Passat finally said “enough was enough” and she just wouldn’t start anymore – she was ready to meet her maker, so to speak. But she wanted to leave a final contribution. On February 5, 2014, she donated her body to be sold at auction and the proceeds to benefit the local non-profit charity called Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity (WVHFH).
WVHFH builds homes to sell to low income families in Wyoming Valley. Habitat families are elected based on level of need, willingness to become partners in the Habitat program, and ability to repay a no-interest, 20-year mortgage. Mortgage payments are ‘recycled’ to help build more homes for other qualified families. Families who purchase Habitat homes invest at least 300 hours of ‘sweat equity’ volunteer labor. Ideally, they work on their own homes by building walls, painting, installing windows or other work related to their skill levels. Many community members, some skilled professionals, also volunteer their time. By keeping labor costs down, Habitat is able to keep selling costs low. An average Habitat house for a family of four in the United States is 1100 square feet, has 3 bedrooms, and costs $65,000 to build.
So, our farewell to the ole Passat was bittersweet. We were on each other’s last nerves toward the end, but she left us with many good memories and a final contribution for a good cause.