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Friday, 21 February 2020 14:01

Second Chances Garage in MD, Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Help of 'The Humble Mechanic'

Written by Erika Riley, The Fredrick News-Post
Chimaine Brandford reacts after receiving the keys to her refurbished 2005 Volkswagen Passat from Charles Sanville, the auto repair specialist who has the YouTube channel “The Humble Mechanic,” on Thursday at Second Chances Garage in Frederick. CREDIT: Bill Green Chimaine Brandford reacts after receiving the keys to her refurbished 2005 Volkswagen Passat from Charles Sanville, the auto repair specialist who has the YouTube channel “The Humble Mechanic,” on Thursday at Second Chances Garage in Frederick. CREDIT: Bill Green Bill Green

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Shimaine Brandford, a Frederick resident who received the car on Thursday morning, has not been able to fully meet the demands of her job without a vehicle.

 

She works as a caretaker, primarily for elderly people. With a car, she will be able to drive her clients to their medical appointments, and to the grocery store.


“It’ll get me to work, to provide for my son, because I have a son, it can get me back and forth to school to further my career, get my son into sports because he’d like to play sports,” she said.

 

“So I can take him to practice, and to the games.”


It’s going to change her life.


“That’s really, really cool that she’s doing something awesome for herself, and that’s allowing her to do something awesome for other people,” Sanville said.


Ray Brown, the new chair of the Second Chances board, stressed the importance of having a car, especially in the suburbs.


“How could you go to school? How could you get your children to sports activities, to get to your job?” Brown said.

 

“That’s how important owning a car is, particularly in Frederick.”


Repairs on the Passat included replacing the timing belt and brakes, suspension work, fixing oil leaks and changing engine mounts.

 

Sanville said the car was in good shape, but needed some upgrades in order to pass the Maryland inspection for used vehicles.


When the nonprofit started 10 years ago, it was doubtful it would even make it past a few years, said John Frawley, board member and outgoing chair.

 

After the shop started offering low-cost repairs on cars for $50 an hour — which is half the industry standard rate — for low-income residents, the shop started losing money.


“And then we waited until we had the right people in the business, and then we started the program up again, and it’s been wildly successful since then,” Frawley said.

The shop now has partnerships with several for-profit organizations including Gearwrench, Dynamic Automotive and Interstate Batteries, which donate a battery for every car the garage gives away.


Last year, the nonprofit gave away 50 cars through the program.


The program has also benefited from the addition of apprentices from the Frederick County Career and Technology Center, a partnership that began last year.

 

Brett McClavey, a junior at Thomas Johnson High, said he wanted to join the program to learn useful skills.


Plus, Gearwrench gives the apprentices $2,400 worth of tools once they graduate.