By Rusty Bradshaw
What started out as a simple request for a monetary donation turned into something much different.
Northwest Valley Connect officials, in an ongoing search for contributions to sustain the transportation resource agency, made a request of Surprise Honda, 13270 N. Autoshow Ave., similar to other corporate requests. Surprise Honda General Manager Sean P. Beardsley thought about it and came up with a more sustaining option.
The deadlership loaned NWVC a 2016 Honda Odyssey EX van for a two-year period and agreed to provide the maintenance and washing at no charge.
“All we would be paying for is the gas,” said Bonnie Boyce-Wilson, NWVC board president.
The van is emblazened with the dealership and NWVC connect logos on each side and the hood. The agency’s phone number, 623-282-9300, to arrange for rides is also on both sides of the vehicle.
“I have heard of dealerships doing a ‘wrap’ to advertise their business, but I’ve never heard of a dealership that donated a vehicle to a nonprofit,” said Kathy Chandler, NWVC executive director.
Mr. Beardsley said the loan served two purposes.
“It gives us some exposure, but most importantly it helps fill a need in the community,” he explained.
Because NWVC and Surprise Honda serve the same Northwest Valley communities, Mr. Beardsley believed the vehicle loan was a perfect fit.
Northwest Valley Connect was established in 2014 from a partnership between Benevilla and Sun Health to help connect residents with public transportation options. In addition to recommending resources to residents in need of rides, NWVC provides rides through its volunteer driver program. Those drivers use their own vehicles to transport clients.
Ms. Chandler said getting the Surprise Honda van gives NWVC a better option for riders.
“Sometimes people get a ride in a vehicle that is not as clean or well maintained,” she said. “But when they ride in this (loaned van) it will be a better experience for them.”
While the initial deal was to loan the van for two years, it may not stop there, according to Mr. Beardsley.
“If this works out in these first two years, we will look at extending it so Northwest Valley Connect has a vehicle for years to come,” he said.