WATCH NOW: Local organization blesses car donated to La Crosse woman | Local News
It’s not often people gather for a religious blessing in a car dealership’s showroom, but Tuesday was a day of firsts for Grace Jacobsen.
About 30 people stood in the Dahl Subaru showroom with their heads bowed in prayer as they performed a blessing – not of a person, but of a car – a gray Chevy Malibu. Made possible with the support of a faith-based non-profit organization called Chariots 4 Hope and Dahl Automotive, Jacobsen now owns this Gray Chevy.
This is the first time that Jacobsen has had a reliable mode of transportation to get to work and other daily activities. Originally from Milwaukee, Jacobsen said she struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction before finding balance through her faith.
For Jacobsen, this Chevy is more than just a car, it represents the start of a new chapter.
“It gives me the freedom to be able to do the things that I know God will make me do,” she said.
Lack of access to safe and reliable transportation is an issue that affects Jacobsen and many others across the country, and is one of the biggest barriers to securing and maintaining employment. Chariots 4 Hope is trying to change this car at once, says Nyhus Schaffer. one of the founders of the organization’s division at La Crosse.
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“The car is a blessing, a gift from God that was not earned, but given so that we could move his kingdom forward and that’s 100 percent,” Schaffer said. “It also represents the sustainability of transportation in La Crosse, as many people have cars, and they cannot afford to take care of them and are worried that they will break down.”
Tuesday was not only the start of a new chapter for Jacobsen, but also the start of something new for Schaffer and his wife Laura, who helped found the La Crosse division of Chariots 4 Hope in early 2022.
Jacobson’s Chevy Malibu is the first vehicle to be blessed and donated by the organization to La Crosse. Schaffer said when he met Jacobsen a few years ago through connections in the La Crosse community, he knew she would be a great first vehicle recipient.
“Grace’s story is amazing, she gave us her testimony: desperation and pain followed by perseverance and faithfulness, those things got her to this point,” Schaffer said.
After this first successful donation and blessing, Schaffer said the organization is looking to the future and plans to secure and bless four more vehicles this year.
Jacobsen is also looking to the future, which she says is now easier to do with reliable transportation. Jacobsen will soon graduate from the Adult and Teen Challenge of Western Wisconsin, a rehabilitation program, and start a new job at La Crescent working with people with disabilities.
Jacobsen will continue to be involved with Chariots 4 Hope as she completes programming to help support budgeting, service and maintenance for the new vehicle.
But for now, as she stands in the car dealership’s showroom, Jacobsen said she will continue to savor the emotions she feels as she embarks on a new chapter.
“I feel extremely blessed, I feel excited, I feel motivated,” Jacobsen said. “The love I received from these people in this community of La Crosse, it’s really amazing for me. It’s hard to find a good community and when I came here, I really felt this closeness with people.”
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