PISGAH FOREST, North Carolina (WLOS) — In the confines of his garage, Chris Lewis gives new life to vehicles with a lot of mileage.
“Last thing you want is a single mom stranded somewhere,” he said as he worked on a 2005 Acura MDX with about 145,000 miles on it.
Once refurbished, it will be ready to roll in the Sharing House Wheels To Work Program.
“It’s a hand up. It’s helping people who already have a job who have gone through the Sharing House program,” said Lewis, News 13’s Person of the Week.
Sidney Lowe of Brevard got a ’94 Mercury Villager through the program.
“It’s been a Godsend. It’s really helped me out. Otherwise, I would’ve been on foot,” she said.
Wheels to Work’s mission is to empower people with reliable transportation. Susan Matthews of Sharing House says Lewis is the driving force.
“He makes the magic happen,” said Matthews, who’s the Sharing House empowerment director. “Chris is the face of the organization because he meets the people when they want to give a donation.”
People who apply to receive a car go through a budgeting process and driver background check. They pay $20 a month for 24 months for their vehicle. The proceeds go toward repairing more cars for those who need one.
“We just feel like this gets people farther ahead by having their own independence,” Lewis said.
Lewis has always had a need for speed. He raced motorcycles and won a national championship back in 1982. Then he slowed down to give back.
“This shop was actually built with that ministry in mind,” he explained.
In the past nine years, Lewis has revamped 80 vehicles for Wheels to Work, including 14 in 2020.
“So, if you can get a person reliable transportation, that’s definitely an advantage to them to maintain their employment,” said Lewis.
Lowe paid off her van in less than a year for a good reason.
“I paid it off yesterday,” she said. “I paid it off 14 months early. I wanted to make sure to pay it forward so that that I could help out the next person.”
Chris says faith fuels him to help change lives for the better.
“Well, I’m kind of a Matthew:25 guy. So, you know, I think we’re supposed to help people,” he said, choking up. “I’m sorry.”
That motivation drives him down an emotional road at times because every set of wheels might be the vehicle to help turn someone’s life around.
“It’s just something I know I need to do,” Lewis said.
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