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Local man gifted car after community learns of hour-long walk to work

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CHICO, Calif. - Community members rallied together to surprise a worker at The Commons with a new car after hearing about his hour-long walk to work every day.

"I'm speechless," Jon Leach, who was gifted the car said. "I have no words except thank you to everyone who helped and put into this. I really appreciate it."

A fake birthday party was set up for Leach to surprise him with his new car.

Leach was ecstatic to see people together to gift him the 2012 Toyota Camry.

"He's one of the shining lights we have here," Executive Chef of The Commons Andy Shepard said. "He cools off in the walk-in after walking an hour and a half to work every day. He has to make sure he gets here 15 minutes so he can cool off and get ready for work. That's the type of kid he is."

Lori Maloney and Ben Heinrichs helped organize the fundraiser.

"I feel great," Heinrichs said. "It's awesome to see the community come together. This is a grassroots effort. Most people don't know this young man, they just heard his story and how hardworking he is. He's humble. He's the first kid to get here and he works his tail off. As soon as I met him I knew I made the right decision, I was glad to be a part of it.”

Around 90 people donated to the fundraiser to make the donation possible.

The total raised was around $10,000 and Chico Nissan Hyundai matched part of the donation.

Bob's Tires and Gary's Automotive also contributed to the surprise by offering a free set of tires and a discount off of Leach’s first service.

“I have so many thoughts," Leach said. "I'm so happy. I've been trying to get a car for a while so it's a blessing to have one. Thank you, everyone.” 

Leach also received a $500 gift card for gas and his first year of car insurance is paid for.

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