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Kalamazoo man's family totals car, wins brand new Mustang hours later

Local Kalamazoo man John Beck wins a brand new Mustang through the Hands Up Foundation just hours after learning his wife and family totaled their Mercedes on the way to Chicago. His family was uninjured. (WWMT/Ray Hole)

We all know the old adage: it's always darkest before the dawn. For one West Michigan family, a morning that started with a somber phone call was quickly remedied by what John Beck describes as "a Christmas call."

For Beck, Saturday morning was nothing short of emotional.

"My wife and her sisters and my daughter were headed to a shopping trip in Chicago. They ended up in a collision out on [Interstate] 94 and it looks like they totaled our Mercedes," he said. All of the members in the car were safe aside from some minor injuries. "Today was kind of a downer day."

Lucky for Beck, another old adage came into play: you reap what you sow. Weeks earlier, Beck and family decided to purchase a $100 chance at a brand new 2018 Mustang Shelby GT 350, which was being raffled off by local nonprofit known as the Hands Up Foundation. The nonprofit joined forces with local dealership Seelye Auto Group to collaborate in an effort to raise money to feed underprivileged families in the Kalamazoo area for the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to Josh Thompson, president of the Hands Up Foundation, donations gathered this year through the Mustang raffle and a golf outing held in September will allow the nonprofit to provide anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 families with a complete Thanksgiving meal this November.

"It's been a lot of hard work between the board, Seelye Auto Group and everybody that's been involved with this," Thompson said about the efforts needed to make the raffle come to life. "It takes a village."

Mickey Seelye, chief operations officer and vice president of Seelye Auto Group, said it's amazing that a partnership based on helping people in need ended with yet another assist to a family in a tough spot.

"We had no clue how this was going to play out, but it's amazing to us that the person that won it had a car accident in their family this morning," Seelye said. "You can't make this stuff up."

Thompson said the foundation sold over 1,100 tickets for this raffle.

As for Beck, he's still working on convincing his wife that he isn't pulling a crazy holiday prank on her.

"She still thinks I'm teasing her," he said.

For more information on the Hands Up Foundation or if you'd like to donate, you can visit their website here.

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Kalamazoo foundation gives opportunity to win Mustang, feed families for holidays

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