Sylvia Rivers of Tilton was overwhelmed with gratitude when AutoServ of Tilton’s vice president, Andrew Hosmer, handed her keys to a 2001 Nissan Xterra to replace one of her family’s vehicles, which were crushed by trees when a microburst struck the area on July 4. Also on hand for the presentation were Police Chief Robert Cormier and Caring Hands Assisting Tilton’s vice chairman, Jane Alden, all of whom have been assisting the family since their home was severely damaged in the storm. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 18, 2012TILTON — Last Thursday afternoon, AutoServ of Tilton stepped up to ease one of the many burdens of the Rivers family in Tilton by donating a 2001 Nissan Xterra SUV after the couple's two vehicles were crushed by falling trees in a microburst on July Fourth. Neither of their vehicles were insured for such damage, as both were paid in full and one was only used for plowing their driveway.
"We just had the minimum liability coverage, so we really didn't know what we were going to do when we saw what happened to them," said Sylvia Rivers last week.
AutoServ vice president Andrew Hosmer said that when his company learned about their troubles, they asked how they could help. Town officials informed them of the family's need for reliable transportation, so AutoServ delved into their inventory and found something very suitable.
"It's great we were able to do something like this. This community's been so great to us over the years as we've grown, and these are just great folks. We were so pleased we were in the position to give them a hand," said Hosmer, adding, "This car should work very well for them."
Considering the many recent Fourth of July celebrations and activities in the Lakes Region, Hosmer said it was shocking to hear of the damage that interrupted the day. He wondered how many people, in retrospect, have now thought back on where they were when the isolated storm struck the lakefront in three towns.
It's a miracle, he said, that no one was seriously injured.
Sylvia Rivers certainly remembers where she was that day and she explained to Hosmer how her Fourth of July unfolded.
"It was first some lightning, then the thunder, and then the rain and winds arrived," she recalled. "The cat started going crazy, so I went in the kitchen to get some food for it, and as I stepped away from the kitchen table, I suddenly had insulation fall all around me."
Rivers said a window also blew out, the whole house shook and Larry was thrown from his chair.
"In 15 minutes, though, it was all over," she said.
When the dust settled, everyone was fine, but the vehicles were crushed and the home was severely damaged. Estimates at this time are six months to a year until the home is livable once again.
Rivers said her husband, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, is disabled, and has health issues. While their other children are grown, the couple still has a 12-year old daughter at home, and both she and Larry require transportation for their many appointments and activities. Sylvia is a cook supervisor at LRGHealthcare and also needs a means in which to get to work as the family's sole wage earner.
AutoServ's donation of a vehicle was an answer to her prayers and one positive step toward rebuilding their future.
Stepping into the Nissan for the first time, she was thrilled to see it had an automatic transmission.
"This is wonderful! Larry will be able to drive this car, too," Rivers said, with a huge smile of relief.
After being handed the keys to the vehicle, Rivers hugged Hosmer, Police Chief Robert Cormier and all who came out for the presentation. Fighting back tears, she said she was grateful to AutoServ, the Town of Tilton, and to Tom Gallant and Jane Alden, chair and vice chair of CHAT, who have been by her side every day to assist in any way they could.
Alden said she was proud to be a part of the Tilton community, where neighbors always reach out to help neighbors.
"I've lived in many places in my life, but Tilton's the only community I've ever seen like this. Everybody here joins hands and make things happen when someone is in need," she said.