PRICE, Utah — Rowan Coash, who is a staff sgt. in the U.S. Air Force, was on his way from Vancouver, Washington to San Antonio, Texas to report for duty recently when something unexpected happened.
“It was almost like someone had nearly pulled the keys out of the ignition,” he said.
When his 2005 Toyota Corolla broke down on Highway 6 west of Price, he found himself stranded in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from his destination. While Coash waited for a tow truck he called his friend, Erica Krochmalny in Washington.
Erica turned to social media, posting on her timeline: “Anybody out there in Facebook land near Price, UT and willing to help a soldier?”
Rowan’s car was towed to Price, and a mechanic looked at his car.
“The options they were giving me was six to 10 days to get the car fixed and a whole lot of money that I didn’t have at the time,” Coash said.
On top of that, if Coash didn’t make it to Texas in two days he would be considered absent without leave.
Little did he know, Erica’s Facebook post was being shared by hundreds of people.
“Very random, just very random how it all worked out; I was checking Facebook on my phone and saw there was this soldier stranded here in Price,” said Leslie Holmes of Price.
Holmes agreed to store the car at her home until Coash could figure out how he could afford to have it fixed.
He managed to get a rental truck and left his car, Suzie, behind. But the Facebook post continued to spread online. A Price veteran posted on his timeline: “Does anyone know a good mechanic that would be willing to do a solid for an American hero…?”
Randy Misner of Price spoke about his decision to reach out.
“I’m a Gulf War veteran, and I served and I just saw a fellow service member in need and felt my duty to help him out; he’s like family to me,” he said.
Within hours, more than 100 people had responded. An employee at a local car dealership saw the post and volunteered to take a look at the car
“We saw it needed a motor and once we saw we needed a motor the whole team jumped in,” said Tony Basso, owner of Tony Basso GM.
The car’s motor was rebuilt, reaching $3,500 in repairs but no charge to the airman.
“I think it’s time that we as a nation serve those who protect us but from a small town aspect, us as car dealers and individuals: we all want to help,” Basso said.
Now a few weeks later, thanks to the Price community and a good mechanic, Suzie is up and running and ready for Rowan.
“It was absolutely amazing the overwhelming support that I got, I really don’t know how to put it into words,” Coash said.
Thanks to the people of Price, Coash reported on time in Texas. His car is also on its way and is being shipped free of charge.