KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new car should make getting around much easier for a local veteran who has faced challenges ever since serving in Iraq.
Santa Claus gave the car keys to Lawrence Smith on Thursday evening at the CARSTAR Metcalf auto body shop in Stilwell, Kansas.
Smith spent nine years in the Army reserves and was deployed to Iraq in 2004.
After his return, he lost his job and his home.
He now lives in the Veterans Village. The village is a community of tiny homes that were built as part of the Veterans Community Project as transitional housing for veterans who are homeless.
"I've learned that being with VCP, no man is an island," Smith said. "We all need each other to help each other out, to pull each other up."
The homes are located near 89th Street and Troost Avenue, and Smith works by Kauffman Stadium. He has been taking the bus 90 minutes each way to and from work for the past seven months, as he didn't have access to a car.
The car he was given should cut the commute by more than an hour each way.
“I talked with my case manager about the problems, about the buses, and how many buses I have to take and all that,” Smith said. “But I just had no idea I would be able to get something like this.”
The new car should also help him as he starts classes next month. Smith hopes to pursue a career in information technology.