By Valerie Shelton, Editor
When Monica “Miss Momo” Brewer’s old clunker died last month, she had no idea how she would come up with the funds to buy some new wheels to get her to and from her job as a teacher’s aide at Nelson Elementary School.
Thankfully, the Nelson, Kastner and Clovis West community, and community at large, rallied around the beloved Miss Momo, donating thousands to her through a Go Fund Me campaign created by Brewers sister, Jackie Crawford.
The generous donations—a $14,000 goal was met within two days and continued to grow—were unexpected and amazing, but unbeknownst to Miss Momo another big surprise was on its way.
Brewer’s story had reached the executives at the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, MI, and they felt compelled to do something special for the selfless teacher’s aide—give her a new car. And they did just that during a special ceremony at Clovis West High School on Thursday, Feb. 11, when Chevrolet representative Shad Balch and Clovis West principal Marc Hammack presented Miss Momo with a 2016 Chevy Malibu.
Coming to Clovis West at lunchtime that day, Brewer had no idea what was in store. As she walked on campus she was welcomed with cheers of her past and present students, her family, coworkers and friends. As she was directed to the amphitheater stage, she still had no idea what the commotion was about until Hammack made the big announcement.
“Today, we are here to honor someone who has touched so many lives in such a positive way,” Hammack began. “This is a person who demonstrates pure kindness in everything she does. Her enthusiasm, generosity and love has shaped so many children in helping them grow into strong, valuable members of our community. I think it is safe to say that this person is near and dear to all of our hearts. Almost daily, I hear something wonderful about her. I can go on and on about all the wonderful things that our parents, community members and students have to say about her. In fact, I don’t think people are capable to saying anything negative about Miss Monica.
“The story of your outdated ride brought your journey beyond our community here and captured the hearts of people all over. Coverage of your Go Fund Me campaign even made it all the way to Detroit. It was there that the folks at Chevy thought it was time to give something back to someone who has given so much to so many as part of their day it forward campaign so it is my honor on behalf of Chevy to offer you a brand new 2016 Chevy Malibu.”
After the announcement, Brewer broke into tears of happiness, and looked on in awe as a beautiful white Chevy Malibu was driven onto campus and parked just feet away from her. The shock and awe continued as Balch came up to hand her the key.
“We heard your story in Detroit and we are very proud of the hard work you’ve done,” Balch said. “You’ve given your life up for your family and for your community. You probably remember many of these kids back when they were in diapers. You’ve touched the lives of so many people and you exemplify to us what the whole day it forward program is all about. We’ve also seen your car and we want to be able to help you do what you do so well to continue helping the people you live with, your family and your friends, so on behalf of Chevrolet, I want to give you the key to a brand new Chevy Malibu. This car is going to help you do what you do best. We know to shuffle kids around all the time so there is room for a good group of kids, it is safe, it is loaded with all the latest in technology features, plus we know it is important for you to look good to so we gave you one of the good looking ones. On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet thank you for being you and thank you for being so amazing.”
Brewer said there are no words to fully express how surprised and grateful she is to both the community and to General Motors and Chevrolet for their generosity.
“I feel very blessed,” Brewer said. “I’m really grateful for what this community has done for me. It means so much and I thank God for all of it…The Go Fund Me was the first crazy thing and all the people who donated, some kids that were there when I first came to Nelson in 1989 who remembered things that had long passed. That was so great. Then to come out here and see all these kids and everyone, I just keep wondering how all of this got done. Then when I saw the car, I thought, ‘that’s a nice car’ and I thought, ‘wow, this is crazy.’ That is a beauty of a car and there is no other way I could afford to pay for it. To be given a car like this, no one expects that.”
Monica’s little sister, Jackie Crawford, is the one who started the Go Fund Me campaign and she said initially she just hoped to raise enough for a decent down payment on a new or used car. When the donations came in so fast, she was surprised.
“Monica’s car did not pass smog inspection and there were a couple of discontinued parts and we looked everywhere and could not find them even online,” Crawford said. “We realized it was time for her to buy a new car, but she just didn’t have the money to do it so I decided to start this Go Fund Me campaign and asked the community to pitch in and help her get some money to go toward a car. I didn’t realize that the amount of support would be this overwhelming. People were just donating left and right from all over the country. This viral thing was huge. When we met our goal after two days we were thinking this is great, this is a blessing, but the donations kept coming in. Watching it on the news was just crazy and I was so happy for her.”
Then when the school district called and let her know General Motors was going to give her sister a car, Crawford said she was amazed.
“Chevrolet dealers contacted the school and they talked to me and we started to plan this event last week and they said they wanted to give Monica a brand new car and let her keep the donated money and I was like ‘What?’ but they heard her story and they were touched by it and they wanted to help and wanted to give back so we started planning this surprise for her,” Crawford said.
Crawford said if anyone deserves a gift like this, it is her sister.
“Even before Nelson, she has been this selfless giving person,” Crawford said. “She took care of me when I was a baby because our mother was a single mom of five kids and she had to work. Monica never complained and never asked for anything. She is just that way. She just gives, gives and gives.”
The Go Fund Me campaign raised a total of $25,000. Some of that money will be used to pay taxes on the new Chevy Malibu. Brewer plans to start a scholarship fund with the remaining money.