Washburn Tech gifts a Kansas mother with a recycled ride

December 08, 2018 - 11:21 am

Washburn Tech Institute's Recycled Rides program has granted a Kansas mother the gift of a lifetime.

Kayla Hupp is the beneficiary of the program's 25th vehicle, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Recycled Rides partners auto service students with professional mentors in the community to refurbish cars. The cars are then awarded to people in need.

Hupp fought back tears as WTI students revealed the shiny minivan.

Washburn was the first to give away a refurbished car as part of the National Auto Body Council program. WTI has given away more vehicles than any of the other participating schools combined.

The vehicle, a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country donated by State Farm Insurance, was totaled because of hail damage, before receiving even further damage at the auto storage facility. The van was considered a certified used car by the time students finished their work.

Hupp said prior to the car presentation she drove a car with an engine that would stop running at inconvenient, even dangerous, times. The car once stopped running in the middle of a busy intersection, and another time it conked out in front of a semi-trailer on the interstate.

The car's unreliability also affected Hupp's children, some of whom have medical issues. One requires visits to Kansas City, and she often had to re-schedule those appointments or cancel them for lack of transportation.

She told the crowd: "I fight really hard for my kids just to show them that it's worth it. We'll go through anything we have to just to be a family. Thank you all so much."

Hupp and her family won't be able to drive the vehicle until the new tires are put on, but she had a suggestion for their first road trip. She turned to her kids and said, "Want to go to Kansas City?"

The answer was a unanimous "yes!"

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