Sycuan tribal reservation police service officer Patrick Lauifi and his family have seen troubled times during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was furloughed for nearly eight months, his wife’s work hours were cut to part time, and his car to get to work broke down one too many times, making him take the trolley and buses to his job at the reservation from his home in Lemon Grove.
Caliber Collision and Allstate insurance selected Lauifi for an early Christmas present by presenting him with a completely refurbished 2015 Toyota 4Runner at Caliber’s Spring Valley location on Dec. 17, part of Calibers “Restoring You” community initiative.
Lauifi, a U.S. Army veteran, said his trouble began while living in El Cajon, and he did not see a solution to his problem, but after spending thousands on his old car with no positive results, he is grateful that he was chosen. He shared this vehicle with his wife and teenage son. Back at work, Lauifi works 60-80 hours per week and makes around $32,000 annually. He said this gift gives his entire family the boost that was needed to continue to work and provide for his family.
“I am so excited. It is a great blessing for me, and it is going to make my life so much easier,” said Lauifi. “I had to walk to the trolley and then take a bus to work. There are thousands of people in my situation. It was a stressful situation for me, so I am just so grateful. The transit was horrible.”
David Adams, Caliber Collision regional director said especially during these times, this gift to Lauifi felt more impactful. He said Caliber started the program over four years ago looking for people in need of help, in particularly veterans and people that served in some form of service.
“Sometimes when they get out of the reserves, military, police department, sometimes it is not always the prettiest picture,” said Adams. “They end up struggling through their time back into the other world. It is a completely different life when they are being deployed and many times it is a big culture shock and change when they come back. They have had struggles and that is where Caliber has stepped in and recognized it.”
Adams said it goes through a screening process finding veterans that are struggling and in need and have either no transportation, walking miles and miles to work, or struggling financially.
“All they need sometimes is a car to get to work, so they can go to interviews, apply for a job and get something,” said Adams. “Many times, they have family, and it is heartbreaking because they cannot take their family. No car, no car seats at all to do anything.”
Adams said they presented Lauifi with the car at its Spring Valley location because it was the nearest location to his home. He said the team that prepared the vehicle works at the Caliber Collision in Mira Mesa.
“They volunteered their time and expertise with no pay and just wanted to be a part of something and give back to the community,” he said.
Source: East County Californian