VISTA—TJ Crossman, owner of an auto repair shop of the same name, hopes to improve the life of a struggling San Diego resident by giving them a car.
Crossman is working alongside national non-profit Wheels to Prosper to give away a refurbished 1997 Ford Taurus.
Every year, Crossman finds a charitable endeavor and this year, he decided to give away a car.
“I thought it’d be a really cool accomplishment to be able to do that for somebody,” said Crossman.
He believes in giving back to the community after his family endured their own health struggles.
Crossman is a cancer survivor, his youngest daughter was born two months premature and he his ex-wife passed away three years after she received a heart transplant.
“When you’re dealing with that stuff, you realize life is pretty short,” Crossman said. “If there’s something I can do to help out somebody that’s a little bit less fortunate, then that’s what I want to try and do.”
The car has new brakes, tires, motor mounts, a new air conditioning system, and will be completely tuned up to ensure the recipient of the car won’t have to worry about breakdowns or expensive fix ups.
Euro Pacific is also doing bodywork on the outside of the car and Auto Specialty Warehouse has donated about $1,000 worth of parts.
About 80 hours of labor will have been dedicated to the car, once everything is all finished.
Three judges will decide between the nominees.
One of the judges received help from Crossman last year after suffering a brain injury. John Van Vuren had complications due to a hematoma. Crossman restored his car, free of charge.
He also set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Vuren’s medical bills.
“What he did was above and beyond what I expected from anyone,” Vuren said in a video.
Crossman won’t serve as a judge because he said choosing just one recipient is too difficult.
“I would like to give everybody a car so I’m not even going to be a judge in this,” Crossman said.
This last year, the Vista Chamber of Commerce named him the Small Business of the Year for his work in the community.
He hopes to give away another car next year.
Crossman bought the car for $350 after asking around for a worthy car to fix up and donate.
After all the labor and donated upgrades, the recipient will only have to worry about oil changes.
People can nominate individuals or a family by July 4.
Crossman asked people to explain why the family or individual needs a car.
Entrants can submit applications through e-mail at [email protected] or through the mail at 1330 N. Melrose Dr. Suite F. Vista, California 92083.
The winner will be announced July 18 at a barbeque, which will also celebrate the auto repair shop’s second year in business at its current location.
Crossman began his business in 2006, starting as a mobile repair shop.
Once business picked up, he added another mobile truck and eventually opened on Melrose Drive.