Antonio Basco, 61, has been grieving the death of his wife, Margie Reckard, who was one of the victims in the Aug. 3 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.
Basco spent nearly a week living out of his late wife’s run-down blue Ford Escape in the Walmart parking lot so he could be near Reckard’s makeshift memorial.
The El Paso community has wrapped Basco in emotional and practical support since his wife’s death.
Before his wife’s funeral, Casa Ford Lincoln, a local car dealership, fixed up the worn-down Ford Escape for free, repairing the broken air conditioning unit and replacing the vehicle’s brakes and tires.
Hundreds of people showed up to Reckard’s funeral after Basco said he did not have any family to attend.
But just hours after feeling the love and warmth of his El Paso community at his wife’s funeral, Basco was hit with yet another wound when he learned that someone had stolen his Ford Escape and wrecked it.
El Pasoan Vanessa Kondow posted a photo to Facebook of the totaled vehicle, writing that her husband had been the one to tow it back to Basco’s home.
“He just buried his wife yesterday and now this,” Kondow wrote in part.
When Casa Ford Lincoln learned what had happened, employees jumped at the chance to help.
“We caught news of his vehicle being totaled and it was a natural extension for the same folks who helped the first time to call and text asking what we could do,” Ronnie Lowenfield, who owns Casa Ford with his three brothers, told BuzzFeed News.
They knew that Basco would rather repair the damaged Escape since it belonged to his wife, but Casa Ford came up with a solution that would keep Basco up and running safely and quickly while still honoring his late wife.
“We had a blue Ford Escape in stock,” Lowenfield said. “So we donated it to him so that he could have a mode of transportation and still have a connection to his wife.”
The company gave the vehicle to Basco, who was grateful for another warm embrace from his community.
“You don’t know how much this means to me,” Basco said as Casa Ford presented him with his new vehicle.
Lowenfield, an El Paso native, told BuzzFeed that while he has been eager to help in the weeks since the mass shooting, he has also had to tread cautiously on exactly how to proceed.
“It’s been hard for me personally because I have been very cautious on how to help,” Lowenfield said.
“I’ve been concerned about it being a self-promotion, but I just wanted to make sure that the world knows this is who we are. El Pasoans take care of each other. We take money we might or might not have to support others. And when cars break down, we replace them.”
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