James Donnett, seen here with executive director of Wilma’s Transition Society Kathleen Mosa, was the recipient of this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James Donnett, seen here with executive director of Wilma’s Transition Society Kathleen Mosa, was the recipient of this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Car donated to Wilma’s Transition Society gets handed over to Chilliwack family

James Donnett and his young family were the recipients of the 2006 Saturn Ion giveaway

A young Chilliwack family got an early Christmas present this year.

James Donnett and his family were the recipients of a 2006 Saturn Ion on Tuesday, Dec. 22 thanks to a donation that came in to Wilma’s Transition Society.

In October, an anonymous donor gave the four-door sedan to Wilma’s so they could pass it along to someone in the community.

It needed some TLC before they could hand it over to the right person or family, so staff at the society contacted Murray Auto Group who put about $3,000 worth of repairs into the vehicle.

Staff with Murray Auto Group polish a 2006 Saturn Ion before it was donated to James Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Staff with Murray Auto Group polish a 2006 Saturn Ion before it was donated to James Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“We inspected it, went through a pretty long list of stuff and fixed it all up so that it’s going to be safe and reliable for these folks,” said Chris Emery, general manager with Murray Auto Group.

Donnett, who has a wife and four-month-old daughter, was given the keys to his new car on Tuesday at Murray Honda after applying on the last day for the car giveaway earlier this month.

“I said, humbly, I think this would be very beneficial to my family with every aspect to our living situation,” Donnett recalled writing in the application form.

James Donnett (in blue) thanks executive director of Wilma’s Transition Society Kathleen Mosa as she hands him the keys to this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James Donnett (in blue) thanks executive director of Wilma’s Transition Society Kathleen Mosa as she hands him the keys to this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

His family hasn’t owned a car in more than a year, and it’s been difficult.

He said he had “no expectations” and even added he was “sure there are people who could make use of this much more than me.”

Out of about 25 applicants, the staff, volunteers and board members with Wilma’s voted to donate the car to Donnett and his family.

He cried when he got the call – there were a lot of emotions and a big weight was lifted from his shoulders. His wife would be able to find job opportunities and he could safely transport his daughter places.

Earlier, they were looking to buy a different car, but are grateful they received the Saturn.

“It was either this or a 1992 Cavalier that was in rough shape,” Donnett said. “[The Saturn] is more suitable. I feel a lot safer.”

James Donnett (centre) was the recipient of this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s Transition Society, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James Donnett (centre) was the recipient of this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s Transition Society, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

On Tuesday, Donnett expressed his family’s gratitude.

“I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, and so would my wife, everyone.”

By “everyone,” he didn’t mean just the folks who directly made the car giveaway happen, but also the many people and societies such as Wilma’s who “work so hard [and] put a lot of effort into taking care of people.”

Wilma’s was even able to fill the trunk with Christmas gifts and a holiday dinner thanks to people in the community. And Hub International paid for $1,000 worth of insurance.

“It’s utterly amazing and astounding. I’ve lived in a lot of places but Chilliwack is uniquely and surprisingly generous,” Donnett said.

James Donnett (in blue) thanks people who were part of a car giveaway for this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s Transition Society, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James Donnett (in blue) thanks people who were part of a car giveaway for this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s Transition Society, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James Donnett (centre) was the recipient of this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s Transition Society, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James Donnett (centre) was the recipient of this 2006 Saturn Ion. The car was donated to Wilma’s Transition Society, which handed it over to Donnett on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 after Murray Auto Group repaired the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

RELATED: Single father of three in Chilliwack receives vehicle in Christmas Car Giveaway


 

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Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
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