A young man from Elkford will soon have his first car thanks to a pay-it-forward chain that began with a dentist.
The minivan, a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, was the prize in a recent giveaway by the Elkford Dental Centre (EDC).
Dave Aneca, two-year owner of the clinic, said the car was his family minivan for the past eight years.
He used it throughout his journey to becoming a dentist, driving it across the continent for university.
Aneca recalled late nights driving to the library to study, listening to recorded lectures, driving around trying to get his kid to sleep while he was in dental school. He had three of his four kids with the car.
“It’s kind of closing that chapter of life for us,” he said.
The Anecas have since had a vehicle upgrade, and they thought about selling the old Dodge.
But, they decided to give it away through the clinic instead.
“It’s the biggest giveaway we’ve done,” he said, adding that he wants to do an even bigger one next year.
Aneca posted about the minivan giveaway to the EDC’s Facebook page on Sunday (July 10), and shared it on various Elk Valley social media groups.
In less than 24 hours, the post had reached over 32,000 people, he said.
“I would say it went Elkford viral.”
He said they were humbled and grateful to read all the nice posts in response to the giveaway.
“It was nice to hear the gratitude the town has for us moving here and being part of the community.”
Aneca and his wife compiled a list of over 800 names gathered through comments, likes and shares for the draw.
On Wednesday (July 13), they landed on a name through an online randomizer.
Crystal Chapman of Elkford, who happens to be a patient of Aneca, was the winner.
“Oh my goodness,” she said in an interview with The Free Press.
“It’s not every day that you can say that you won a car, I have to say.”
She said the giveaway was “an awesome thing to do for people,” and that it was “so thoughtful, paying it forward.”
But the tale of the tan minivan doesn’t end there.
Chapman decided she will emulate Aneca’s action, and will pass the van on to someone who needs it more.
She said she is going to give it to a ‘young fellow’ in Grade 12, a family friend, who she called a ‘good kid.’
“I thought this was such a great opportunity for me to be able to, just like Dave did, pay it forward,” she said.
“I don’t need it, I don’t need the money. I felt like it was morally wrong to try to sell it, to profit off of it.”
She said the young man has kept his grades up, been responsible, causes his parents no issues, and has always been involved in the community.
“I really do feel like he deserves a good jump in life.
“Maybe it will get him through college just like it did Dave.”
Chapman has a broken ankle, and plans to use the car while it heals. She said that within a month, she will likely be passing it on.
“The world feels so dark. We need some light,” she said, pointing to Aneca’s choice in giving away the car.
“I’m just thrilled that I get to do the same.”
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.