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Automotive business works to get 10 cars to 10 families hit by fires

Kelly’s Automotive Service shops in Medford and Grants Pass are spending $10,000 to fix up 10 cars for 10 families that lost their vehicles in recent fires.

People can donate cars with minor mechanical problems through the Salvation Army and the Kelly’s Automotive team of mechanics will get the vehicles into good running order.

The Salvation Army and other nonprofit groups that have been working with wildfire evacuees will match up the fixed cars with people in need.

Local fires, including the Almeda fire that destroyed swathes of Phoenix and Talent, incinerated vehicles along with homes and businesses.

“I was watching a lot of the devastation on the news and wondering and praying, ‘What can we do to help?’ We bought pillows and blankets and Gatorade for evacuees, but I just felt so helpless,” said Lisa McClease-Kelly, co-owner of Kelly’s Automotive. “That’s when I had the idea for 10 cars, 10 families and $10,000.”

She said several people have already offered to donate vehicles. Kelly’s Automotive employees are going to examine the cars to see how much work they need and if they’re good candidates for the effort.

In order to help the most families, McClease-Kelly said the automotive shops need cars in decent condition with minor problems. A car that needs new brakes, for example, would be ideal.

“We can’t do it all ourselves. Having the community donate nicer cars that need a little TLC is the best way to ensure more victims of the fires will have a car to drive. If we have to replace engines and transmissions or do body work, we can’t give away as many cars,” McClease-Kelly said.

Kelly’s Automotive is looking for cars from the year 2000 or newer, with little to no body damage and in good running condition.

The automotive shops may be able to fix and give away more than 10 vehicles if donated cars are in good enough condition. McClease-Kelly said her business is committed to spending the full $10,000 — no matter how many car repairs it takes to get there.

She said the mechanics at Kelly’s Automotive are excited to work on the project and help the community.

Since the Salvation Army is processing the car donations, donors can get a receipt from the organization and may be able to claim the gift for a tax break, depending on their individual tax circumstances.

Those who would like to donate a car should contact Kelly’s Automotive Service in Medford at 541-830-4005 or the shop in Grants Pass at 541-476-6964.

People who need help replacing a vehicle burned in a Southern Oregon fire should call the Salvation Army in Medford at 541-773-6965.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

The Almeda fire destroyed vehicles along with homes and businesses. Vickie Aldous/Mail Tribune{ }
A charred tree limb rests on a car in a Phoenix housing development destroyed by the Almeda fire. Vickie Aldous/Mail Tribune{ }