Santa delivered a few days early for a Williams Lake single mom who is the recipient of Ranchland Honda’s second annual Christmas car giveaway.
“It’s such a blessing,” Dyane Laukkanen said as she arrived at the dealership Wednesday, Dec. 22 with her daughter Charlie, 9, and son, Finley, 3, to see her 2009 black Honda Fit.
As her children’s eyes spotted the car, wrapped with a big red ribbon and bow, Laukkanen told them “it’s a gift from Santa.”
After she learned on Tuesday evening her name had been selected to get the car, she said it was hard to fall asleep.
“I won’t have a melon of a car now, I’ll have no worries, it has been a very stressful few months,” she said. “I have never won anything so this is a pretty big deal to me.”
Laukkanen told the Tribune she left an abusive relationship a year ago and eventually moved home to Williams Lake from Castlegar, B.C. For some time she was even living in the back of a truck with her children.
“I was in the struggle for my life, I had two kids to look after and I wanted to give up. It’s a testimony how Williams Lake has supported me and my family has been welcoming to bring me back.”
For other women who feel like they’ve lost hope, she encouraged them to surround themselves with people who lift them up.
“It takes a community to raise children,” she said. “I was the type of person who wouldn’t accept help from anybody with my nose in the air. I had to take down some pillars and some pride and say, I do need help and it’s OK. The women’s shelter and the food bank helped me. Those are things that are in a community to help us get us back on our feet.”
Hearing how people are proud of her is what got her through her dark times, she added.
“We’ve had a wild year and it has been so cool that people took the time to nominate my family.”
She is a nurse, but said she is hoping to start up her own cleaning business and focus more time on her children.
Ranchland Honda dealer partner Cory Herle said there were about 150 entries this year and a few people nominated Laukkanen.
For the contest, people were asked to write in 400 words or less how the gift of transportation could make a positive impact on themselves or someone they know.
“I was in tears reading some of the entries,” Herle said.
The Honda Fit had one previous local owner, who had it regularly serviced.
It has studded tires and is a good vehicle for a mom, he said, adding it would retail for about $8,500.