Holiday ride: Dealers gives car to Winchester family

Published 3:24 pm Monday, December 23, 2019

The Barnetts have needed a car for awhile now.

Their car broke down months ago, and Brett Barnett has been walking to work at Clark’s Pump-N-Shop for at least five months.

Samantha Barnett, a stay-at-home mom, said it’s even been hard to get her children, 8-year-old Connor and 2-month-old Wyatt, places, especially doctor’s appointments. They have been relying on family as much as they can, Samantha said.

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Now, thanks to Integrity Auto, they won’t have to rely on anyone anymore.

Integrity Auto hosted a Christmas car giveaway.

Integrity Auto started announcing the giveaway around Thanksgiving, and after sorting through hundreds of inquiries, owners TJ Romans and Rob Boyd said the Barnetts’ story stuck out.

This is Integrity Auto’s first year in business in Winchester and the owners said they wanted to start off on the right foot.

“If you don’t have a vehicle, it’s hard to have a job,” Romans said. “It’s hard to pay your bills, to go to the doctor… we’re just blessed that we can do this.”

Romans said they were looking specifically for families with children, families who would really benefit from having a car and would appreciate it.

“We want this to be a stepping stone to help them because this stone that they’re stepping on was missing; they just need a little push,” Romans said. “I think that this family is the perfect one for it because they’ve already got there, everything else is in place they just can’t get over that hump.”

Eventually, Romans and Boyd narrowed it down to five families, and after talking to Samantha on the phone, Romans said he knew their family would benefit greatly.

“I prayed about it over the weekend and made a decision when I came here this morning,” Romans said Monday. “The ones that stuck out the most were this couple… they are married, and they’re from Winchester. They work, and they have a home, and like I said, it’s just that they’re missing that one ingredient about trying to succeed.”

Romans said when talking to Samantha on the phone, what stuck out the most was she never once complained about not having a car.

“She was just encouraged,” he said. “She kept saying it would just be a blessing from God to get something, she said, because (they) had been praying for it. And I actually went back on her post and looked and she had been saying stuff about ‘I’m praying for the Lord to give us a car’ and this and that.”

The Barnetts’ new car is a 2004 Chevy Malibu with low mileage.

“It’s just a car that we’ve had, and we’ve had it out, and it’s just a dependable car,” Romans said.

Integrity Auto even checked the car to make sure there was nothing wrong with it, and then filled it up with gas.

“We just decided … out of all the cars that we had, this would be a suitable family car to last a few years, maybe more than that,” Romans said.

Everything is paid for by Integrity Auto: the car, the taxes, the transfer.

“When TJ and I first decided to go into business together over here, our biggest goal, we wanted to be in a business that was profitable, no doubt that’s why we’re doing it, but we wanted to be in a business where we can help people more,” Boyd said. “We can help people that were in need.”

Romans said he is thankful for the community for allowing Integrity Auto to do business in town.

“We are genuinely here to help people,” he said. “We’re not here to try to interfere with anything else, but just to try to help people and provide transportation at a low cost.”

Samantha said it’s been an honor to be chosen for Integrity Auto’s giveaway, and it was a good Christmas surprise. The first thing the family is going to do when they drive their new car off the lot is go Christmas shopping.

Connor, the oldest of the Barnetts’ children, summed up the whole experience in one word: “Awesome.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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