MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tucked inside of Dan’s Car Wash in Minneapolis on 59th and Nicollet, is a small auto repair shop with a bare bones crew.
A volunteer receptionist and two mechanics with a mission to fix cars and to give folks like Judy Hegrenes a lift in life.
“I call them angel mechanics because they have such a heart for what they are doing,” she said.
This place is called Lift Garage.
It’s a nonprofit that provides repairs for a modest fee.
For Hegrenes, who is 69 and living on a fixed income, her $3,000 to $4,000 repair bill will come in at a third of the cost.
“It’s a blessing beyond words,” she said.
The driving force behind this is Cathy Heying.
It was her day job working to end homelessness at St. Stephen’s that lead her to this.
“Can the church give me any money, my car is broken down, if I don’t get it fixed, I can’t get to work, I will lose my job and if I lose my job I won’t be able to pay my rent,” Heying said. “It was one of those, ‘Somebody should do something about this, somebody should do something about this, no really, somebody should do something’ and ‘Please God don’t let it be me.'”
Despite her reluctance, Heying shifted gears, enrolled at Dunwoody and got a certificate in auto mechanics.
She said one door opened after another and in April the Lift Garage opened for business.
“The need is huge. Our next appointment isn’t until March 8,” she said.
Heying works every Saturday to get people like Hegrenes back on the road, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If we are going to be citizens of the world together, we all need to do our part to be kind to one another, to take care of each other in big and small ways,” Heying said.
Her next move is trying to figure out how to meet the high demand.
Right now, they are open on Saturdays and hope to eventually be open five or six days a week.
They’re actively looking for funding and have plans to add a job training program.
For car repairs, there is an application process, or you can be referred by a case worker.
To find out more, click here.