Family receives anonymous gift of SUV

Published 12:05 am Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jeremie and Frank Shaffer are seen in their new vehicle. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Jeremie and Frank Shaffer are seen in their new vehicle. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Almost 15 minutes after Frank, Jeremie, Lorren and Riley Shaffer went to bed the Friday night before spring break, something stirred them awake.

The stirring ended up being the car alarm for a 2011 Ford Edge, which was an anonymous gift given to the Pine Street family because of their selfless giving to the community.

Frank said they had just gotten to sleep after winding down from the excitement of getting a week to enjoy the holiday, and that he was scheduled to leave early on Saturday for St. George’s Island for a boot camp with Iron Works.

“All of a sudden, utter chaos breaks out in the front yard. At least, that’s what I think it is,” Frank said. “When you’re roused out of a sleep like that, you don’t know what’s going on.”

Frank, at more than 6-feet tall, then went into “protection mode,” brandishing a hand gun to investigate what was making the noise.

Both Frank and Jeremie realized that it wasn’t their Chevrolet Trailblazer making the noise, but the car that they would soon find out was theirs, which was parked half-way in their driveway and the street.

“Lights are going crazy, horns are honking,” Frank said. “I’m thinking there’s no telling what it could be. My initial thought was that someone had a wreck, and then my next thought was seeing that there was no damage to the vehicle, a drunk was at the wrong house, or somebody tried to steal the vehicle and the anti-theft alarm went off.”

Frank said he checked to make sure there was nobody in the vehicle, announcing his intentions in a loud and clear voice.

“I basically said, ‘if you try to harm myself or my family, I will kill you,’ ” he said.

As a more relaxed Frank made his way around the vehicle, he found a car key stuck through a note inside of the driver-side lock.

“I see that, and I’m like, ‘that’s strange,’ ” Frank said. “I walk up — and I don’t know if I’m tampering with evidence — and find the panic button.

“The note starts out, ‘Frank, Jeremie, Lorren and Riley. God is good all the time.’ ”

But that wasn’t all the note said, Frank added, as he read the note in its entirety. The note said the following:

“God blesses us continually by the light that your family is to this community. You are the epitome of the example that Jesus taught us in Mathew 28:28. There He said, ‘Just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, truly you give up of yourself of your selfish desires your life for the need of others their ransom.’ What an awesome living testimony you have and share, whether you intend it or not, whether you realize it or not, you inspire us to be better, stronger, and more Christ-like. Thank you for that. By now, you realize there is a truck sitting in your yard and the alarm is going off. If you can’t figure out how to turn the alarm off, call Ford. We don’t know how either, but we knew this would rouse you out of bed. This is your new truck, and we take such joy in surprising you with it. Jesus commands us, but when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be done in secret. Matthew 6:3-4. For this reason, we hide under the cover of darkness. ‘We’ are a small group of friends who love you all very much. We’ve taken steps to cover our tracks, but you likely will discover who some or all of us are. We ask that you make no such effort. We did not do this for fame, nor glory or thanks from you. We did it because you deserve it, and because it brings us joy. The vehicle is paid for in full. There is no paper work to present you, yet. It is all a part of our plan to cover our tracks. It is, to satisfy your curiosity, a 2011 Ford Edge that seems to us to be in excellent shape. On Monday, go to the judge of probate’s office and ask for Tracy. Tracy has all of the paper work needed to prepare the title in your name, get the tag and pay the taxes due. Fret not, we’ve also arranged for these things to be prepared, so nothing will have to come out of your pocket. If you ask Tracy who “we” are, your truck will automatically blow up (laughs). So, don’t ask. She won’t tell you anyway. We also filled it up with gas, less the doughnuts we did at the high school football field before we came over here. Blessed are the meek, they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger or thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5. You are all of these things and so much more. It is our honor to present you with this small, but much-deserved blessing. We love you all.’

“By this time, our whole family, which is standing in the living room at this time where I can see the letter a bit better, we’re just all boo-hooing,” Frank said. “The kids are all like ‘Really? Really?’

“Jeremie and I we’re a little bit different than the kids,” he said. “We were like, ‘Really? For real, really?’ ”

The Shaffers then went for a test drive in their new vehicle all the way to Gantt and back at 1 in the morning.

Jeremie said the Trailblazer has and continues to be a good car for the family, but it was hard to get to where they needed to go with only one vehicle.

“Other people have made a bigger issue out of us having to arrange transportation,” Jeremie said. “I used to work in Red Level and my job changed over to the district attorney’s office, so now I’m in town. Frank works at the high school and Lorren goes to the (LBWCC) college in town, so it was doable. It has always been doable, but it was a pain.”

Frank said it was “inconvenient” because his nature is to go out and help other people, and he felt rushed doing so with one car.

“I was telling someone that you know what, there are so may people that I think of in my mind every day that could use this vehicle,” Frank said. “The person looked at me and said that’s exactly why you deserve it. That’s what they told me because your thoughts are not still on the vehicle, but how can we use this to bless someone else.”

Jeremie said the Ford Edge has been a “blessing.”

“It’s just a huge blessing,” she said. “God is so good. It’s something we’re thankful for. Our kids, and Frank and I, have been praying and believed in God in giving us a new vehicle. Our daughter had been given a car for graduation by our mom, and she had been rear-ended after the day of graduation, so we had been needing to replace her vehicle. There’s been a need for it. It’s not that we couldn’t have done without it, but praise God. He’s been good.”

Frank said all of the credit for the new addition to the household goes to God.

“None of this would have been possible without God speaking to someone to act,” he said. “Regardless, we want God to get 100 percent glory for this vehicle.

“One thing I took from the letter is that we don’t want anything from this, except that God be glorified and you be blessed, both of which have taken place,” he said.