MOORHEAD – Cody Schumacher walked to Ray's Certified Auto Repair, but thanks to the kindness of a local business owner, he drove home in a free car.
Ray Bernard, owner of Ray's Certified Auto Repair, on Friday, March 18, donated a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina to the 20-year-old son of Marcus Schumacher, who died after barricading himself in his house during a standoff with Fargo police. Officer Jason Moszer was also killed in the shootout.
It is the third car Bernard has given away since December. After hearing of a previous car donation, a friend of the Schumacher family contacted Bernard and asked if he had another car he could give. He had just the car, he said.
"We're here to help people," Bernard said. "We started seeing the opportunity to start buying cars that need work, and because we have all of the labor here, we can fix them inexpensively."
The Schumacher family had only one vehicle after Marcus' death because he drove a company car. That was a problem for Cody, who is participating in a drug study in Sioux Falls, S.D., for treatment of his cystic fibrosis. He was borrowing a car from a friend to make the 3½-hour drive.
But it will also make day-to-day life easier, as it's been more difficult lately.
"Being able to see more family and friends and helping them through this time. I'll be able to go to HealthCare Accessories and get new nebulizers when I need them or go grocery shopping and not have to carry a hundred bags," he said.
He will also be able to drive the car to school as he begins college in the fall. He says he will either attend North Dakota State University or Minnesota State Community and Technical College and wants to study botany and theater arts.
The car was donated by Jeff Klonowski, who received the first car Bernard gave away. When Klonowski received his car from Bernard in December, he turned around and donated his old car with the intent that it be repaired and donated to the next person who needed a car.
"It's a blessing," Klonowski said. "It's a bigger blessing than the original blessing we got when Ray gave us the Saturn. At Christmas time, he gave us the Saturn, and I told him then that I wanted to do the same thing then to pay it forward and find somebody that might be able to use this."
Schumacher is thankful for the outpouring of support for his family by the community.
"You just look in the news and you see a few other situations like this and it destroys communities," he said. "But we've defied that and everyone has come together and has been nice and amazing."