BLYTHEWOOD — Katy Sharpe got a sharp new set of wheels on Friday, thanks to a donation by SCE&G to the S.C. Foster Parent Association’s On the Road Again program.
Sharpe, a resident of Fairfield County, received a white 2005 Chevy Trailblazer LS during a ceremony held at the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, 10311 Wilson Boulevard in Blythewood.
“I love my mom and dad for getting me the truck that I have, but I like this one a bit more,” Sharpe said. “I’m just saying.”
Sharpe, who works for the SCDMV, was surprised to find the Trailblazer, family, representatives from various organizations and media members waiting for her Friday as she walked to the parking lot.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that this was out here, and everybody else knew but me for a long time apparently and everyone from my mom and my dad to my caseworkers to my supervisors and everybody is here,” Sharpe said. “I just really thank everybody because this is a lot, and it means a lot.”
Previously, Sharpe drove a 19-year-old truck, which was beginning to show its age with a host of problems, including starter and radiator trouble. She said she is glad to have a more reliable vehicle.
“She’s got a lot of miles on it,” Jimmy Parker, Sharpe’s foster father, said of her truck.
Sharpe and his wife, Gloria Parker, said they were proud of their foster daughter for qualifying to receive a vehicle through the On the Road Again program. The Parkers said Sharpe has been their foster child since she was 13 years old, and she is extremely deserving of the vehicle.
“She’s done really good,” Gloria Parker said. “We’re really proud of her.”
Earlier in the week, Lashaun Benjamin, a foster home recruiter for Fairfield County Department of Social Services, also had kind words regarding Sharpe.
“She is an amazing, amazing child,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin described Sharpe as a creative young person and touted her graduation from high school and procurement of a job as proof of her excellence.
“I said, ‘You’re 18, working a state job. You’re in a good position,’” Benjamin said.
On the Road Again is made possible through donations.
“We can’t do this program if we don’t have donations from businesses in the community,” said Brian Marion, project coordinator for On the Road Again.
In Sharpe’s case SCE&G donated a vehicle that would be retired from the fleet.
Cathy Love, vice president of marketing and communications for SCE&G, said she became aware of On the Road Again program and helped introduce the concept to the SCE&G team.
“Recruiting cars became a team project,” Love said.
In addition to the vehicle, which was adorned with a blue-and-white bow and blue balloons, Love presented Sharpe with various car accessories and a roadside safety kit.
On the Road Again is a project of the S.C. Foster Parent Association which provides donated cars to foster care youth who are at least 18 and not yet 21 years old, actively employed, pursuing a GED or engaged in a post-high school educational program.
With adequate transportation, these young people are able pursue their goals of continuing education and employment, allowing for a more successful transition into adulthood. For more about the program, visit http://www.scfpa.com/Programs.aspx
Call Patricia Jackson at 803-420-1151 or Marion at 803-665-9225 for more information about the On the Road Again program or to make a donation.
Reach Ben Hohenstatt at (803) 635-4016. Follow him on Twitter @WinnsboroHerald.