KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — A veteran and retired mechanic in Kokomo is using his knowledge of cars to help others. He partnered with his church and started a ministry to repair cars for people in need, including single moms and senior citizens.
It’s almost been two years since God’s Garage opened and since they’ve repaired about 200 vehicles. Now, there’s a two week wait-list. All the labor is free, but the car owner is responsible for the parts. It’s all thanks to one member of Crossroads Community Church.
There’s always time for a quick prayer before the next repair.
“We might need to take a look at the spark plug,” retired mechanic Tom Smith.
It’s hard work but no place the 71-year-old would rather be.
“The Bible tells us to treat our neighbors as ourselves and to take care of the fatherless and the widows so that was the inspiration behind getting this started,” Smith said.
Whether it’s a tire fix or replacing a part, nothing is out of reach at God’s Garage.
“I’m getting calls from everywhere,” Smith said.
The veteran used to do check tires and fluids in the church parking lot during the monthly food pantry. That’s when he really saw the need in the community.
“Hopefully that will encourage that person to look to the Lord,” he said.
The church loved the idea and now there are 28 volunteers.
“Whenever a person does pick up their car, people are to the point of tears,” volunteer Randy Stewart said. “They’re so grateful for what we do for them.”
You don’t have to believe to receive.
“We don’t ask them if they’re Christian or atheist. It doesn’t matter,” the 71-year-old said.
But minds tend to change after a talk with Smith.
“I asked her then, ‘So do you believe in Jesus yet? And she said ‘Yes, I believe in Jesus now,'” Smith said.
The church applied for a grant with the Community Foundation of Howard County last year to expand. They found a building close to the church. The owner heard about the work and donated the $200,000 building.
“For those that don’t have god in their life, I don’t know how they do it,” Smith said.
Now, with a good sense of humor, Tom Smith isn’t going anywhere.
“Until I keel over,” he said.