Truckee preschool teacher gifted with new car for Christmas

Hannah Jones

For the past two months Patty Wood, a teacher at Truckee’s Discovery Preschool for the past 28 years, has been walking to work and hitching rides when she could after her car was totaled in a crash.

That changed when friends and family met her outside the school last week with a Subaru Forester from the Auto and Tire Doctor.

“It’s an incredible thing that they do,” said Mercie Galvin, a close friend of Wood. “I know it changed Patty’s life.”

For the past five years the shop has advertised the giveaway every Christmas in the hopes of gifting a car to someone in need.

“…. she was definitely a deserving individual. She’s been in the community a long time and helped raise so many kids.”Jason Epperheimer, Auto and Tire Doctor

“After having met her and hearing her story firsthand she was definitely a deserving individual,” said General Manager Jason Epperheimer. “She’s been in the community a long time and helped raise so many kids.”

In addition to Galvin’s nomination, he said they heard from multiple other community members who suggested the car go to Wood. On Dec 18, Galvin received a phone call from her friend notifying her of the giveaway. She said she immediately started on a nomination letter for Wood.

“The letter was to easy to write,” she said. When they called her the next morning to tell her Wood had been selected Galvin said she “just burst into tears and couldn’t believe it.

Two days later, Galvin along with Auto and Tire Doctor staff met Wood outside the preschool with her class to gift her the car.

“It felt amazing,” said Wood. “I was really surprised.”

In the back of the car sat gas cards and gifts from local businesses including Ace Hardware, the Shell Station, Gratitude, The Niche and Zuri Coffee.

Though the shop has officially advertised the giveaway for the past five years, Epperheimer said they have been gifting a car during the holiday season for the past 10 years.

Throughout the year the shop collects unwanted cars, or cars that are too expensive for the owner to fix up. The Subaru Wood received had belonged to an elderly woman who sold the car to the shop instead of paying to fix a blown head gasket, Epperheimer said.

The shop fixed up the car and chose Wood as a worthy recipient.

“Sometimes we wish we had more than one car to give away,” he said.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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