Shooting victims receive new car from Sanderson Ford

Shooting victims receive new car from Sanderson Ford

Posted: Updated:
Jennifer Longdon Jennifer Longdon

A valley couple -- both badly injured in a random shooting – is now working to re-build their lives, but a local car dealer learned about their struggle and decided to get involved -- and give back!

"Nine years ago, my fiancé and I were wounded in a random shooting," said Jennifer Longdon.  The bullet severed Longdon's spinal cord.  She remains paralyzed from the waist down.  Her then-fiancé David Ruechert, was left blinded by one of the bullets. 

The shooter was never found.

The couple's 2001 van is falling apart and needing new air conditioning.

"Because of my spinal cord injury, the lack of air conditioning, the windows don't roll down anymore.. that was a real issue," explained Longdon.

Getting around town in an old van has made it tough for Longdon to handle her job as a realtor.  She specializes in homes for people with physical disabilities.

Not only does she have a successful career, Longdon also competes in half marathons by wheeling herself throughout the 13-mile courses.

David and Sue Kimmerle, the owners of Sanderson Ford heard about her situation and wanted to help out.  On Thursday, the dealership gave the couple a brand new vehicle!

"I think I'm still in complete shock when I got the phone call this was happening," said Longdon.  "I've been speechless and sleepless ever since with gratitude and excitement."

"We found out how bad her van was.. this is our business. Let's do this  -- she has a need," said David.

The free vehicle, a Ford Transit Connect, includes a wheelchair lift, hand controls and an exchange transfer seat so Longdon can drive alone.

"It picks up the wheelchair, puts it in the vehicle and transfers her into the seat so she can drive with hand controls," David explained.

"This is amazing.  I'm still stunned at the accessibility they've been able to build in this van," said Longdon, who adds that she's overwhelmed and grateful for such kindness.

"So much evil that happened in that short period of time to have the community reach out and balance something like that with so much generosity and good it's just amazing."

Longdon says Sanderson Ford is the only dealership that equips their mobility vehicles in-house and she's grateful for all of the support.

David and Sue were also awarded Ford's top awards for outstanding customer service and sales performance on Thursday morning.


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