AUTO SHOP PROGRAM
Sometimes all the pieces fit together into a beautiful story. This one is all about cars. It involves a unique high school automotive program at Trevor Browne, two graduates of Franklin Police and Fire, a car dealership, a generous family and the Phoenix Police Department.
Back in 2014, Sanderson Ford donated a used vehicle to a retired police officer and veteran, George Breck, who had his truck stolen and did not have the funds for a new vehicle. Recently, Mr. Breck passed away, and his daughter Paige wanted to donate a used vehicle back to Sanderson to give to someone in need and pay it forward.
Enter the Cars, College & Career (C3) afterschool program at Trevor Browne, run by Phoenix Police Officer Matthew Teerink and auto tech teacher William Medina. Teerink knew of twin girls Evette and Elizabeth Sierra, (in first photo, left to right) both of whom are in the Phoenix Police Cadet Program, and going to community college. They did not have access to a vehicle for transportation to and from school, work and the cadet program. Sanderson brought the 2001 pickup truck to the C3 program and the Trevor Browne students cleaned it up, and wrapped it in the girls’ favorite colors-blue and purple. Automotive teacher Medina called the wrapping material “mermaid blue,” and depending on the light, it takes on different hues of blue or purple.
On September 18, the car was presented to the girls at the Trevor Browne auto shop, with Sanderson bosses and police officers present.
“We were shocked. They didn’t tell us what was happening so it was a complete surprise, “ said Evette.
The C3 program is in its first full year with over 20 students participating. The students are getting job skill training, learning automotive repair and car customization, and being introduced to the automotive industry. Sanderson’s General Manager, Mark Witthar was impressed, told the students about the opportunities as auto technicians, and invited them to the dealership to see the operation.
Meanwhile, Evette is starting a sign language degree at Phoenix College, and currently works as a police aid for Phoenix PD. She has been in the cadet program since 2016 where she is a Lieutenant. Elizabeth is starting her psychology degree at Glendale Community College in January, is applying for a police aid position and wants to work as a K-nine officer someday. She is currently the Assistant Chief within the Cadet program.
A simple gesture of returning a favor four years later may have changed the lives of many Phoenix Union students who aspire to be police officers and automotive professionals.