Local 4 viewers help family in need


DETROIT – It's no secret -- metro Detroiters are some of the most generous folks around. And when some of them saw a story Local 4 aired a few weeks ago about a family in need, they stepped up in a big way.

A Troy family called Local 4 in April because the family members wanted to thank the community for coming together and helping them put a down payment on a handicapped-accessible van.

Now, because of that story, the family has even more to be thankful for.

Ever since the Baker family got the MV-1 -- a specialized handicapped accessible van -- life has improved for 13-year-old Jarrod Moore and those around him.

"It's made his life a whole lot easier," said Angela Baker. "We're no longer lifting wheel chairs, he just rolls right in and rides with a smile.

The story that aired in April was supposed to be a simple thank you to the community for their help in getting the van. Little did the Baker family know there were others out there who were watching and wanted to help.

"We saw your little piece at a 5 p.m. on a Friday when we were having dinner. As soon as I saw it I called MV-1. They had already seen your piece," said Joe Bione, president of Whitehall Group.

"As soon as the story hit the news, it spread like wildfire through our company," said Ryan Zemmer, MV-1 marketing manager. "On Monday we showed your piece to 50 employees. One employee ran with it (and) said, 'Let's do a fundraiser for them.' I said, 'Go for it,' and we would match it dollar for dollar from the company."

In less than 10 days, American Specialty Cars employees in Troy -- along with monetary matches from two companies -- came up with $5,000.

Saturday they presented that check to the Baker family.

"We are going to be putting 100 percent of that toward the MV-1 payments," Angela Baker said.

ASC also donated a Q'Straint system so Angela Baker's mother, who also uses a wheelchair, can travel in the van at the same time. It's the way the family all arrived to ASC on Saturday and it's how the family will travel together for a long time.

"A huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts," Angela Baker said. "The people in the community are great."

ACS also has a plant in Lexington, Ky., and those employees wanted to help out. They're planning to find a local family there who needs some assistance and fundraise for them. The company said they will match the donations.