On February 16, 2016 Sebastian Salinas had his van stolen in Kennewick, Wa. where he and his family live. It was a van that had a few defects but it was the only means of transportation that the family had to take their 15 month old son who has a brain injury and cerebral palsy back and forth to Seattle for treatment.
Sebastian called the Kennewick Police Department who went looking for the van and found it as it was being used in the commission of a burglary at a construction site. Officers spent the next 40 minutes attempting to stop the vehicle and arrest the thief who had stolen it only to have the chase end in the vehicle crashing.
Understanding that the family needed the vehicle desperately to get their disabled child back and forth to Seattle but not having the money to pay for repairs, Officers suggested using the Community Cares Fund. It has been widely successful in helping many people who are having financial difficulties and the Salinas family would certainly benefit.
However the damage to the vehicle was greater to repair than the worth of the vehicle itself. The van was considered totaled and not worth saving. Sebastian Salinas was deeply concerned about his child and how he would get him back and forth to his medical appointments that were so important to the child’s welfare.
However Police Chief Ken Hohenberg was not deterred in helping the family. He reached out to community members and asked them to help the family out. After telling them of the family’s problems and of the child’s difficulties two local businesses stepped up and paid it forward.
“I know you didn’t expect this, but there are a lot of people who care about you,” Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg told Salinas.
“I couldn’t believe it. I never thought that I would get a free vehicle and from the police department too. That’s pretty cool, it’s awesome,” Salinas said. “I never expected it.” said Salinas.
“I’ve never heard of anyone doing anything like that, especially the police,” Salinas told the Herald. “I’ve been disappointed by people in the past who made promises.”