Courtney Groharing giggled and looked on in disbelief at the red 1999 Dodge Ram truck that Moline Police Officer Patrick Moody parked in front of her workplace.
“I don’t even know what to say,” the 27-year-old Groharing said of her new truck. “This is the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me. It’s crazy.”
The new set of wheels is something her family desperately needs.
She had lent her car to a co-worker, who wrecked it. Her husband, Jacob, then got an older car from someone in the family.
“That literally lasted about a month,” she said.
Groharing said she now has to walk 25 blocks to her job at Dutch Way Cleaners in Moline. It also was difficult to get around with her two young daughters without a car.
“I have to get my 9-month-old in for a doctor’s appointment and was trying to figure out how I was going to get here there, and now I can do that.”
The new truck, she said, “gets me and my girls where we need to do … it’s perfect.”
Being able to help out Groharing and her family is something that made Moody happy.
“She’s such a sweet girl,” Moody said. “I’m just as happy as she is. I know how terribly bad they needed it. It makes me happy, too.”
It’s something he’s done before. Moody last year bought a used car to a woman whose own vehicle had been totaled in an accident in an effort to “pay it forward.”
He said last year that he made a commitment to himself that he would do something big for someone who he knew could never pay him back at least once a year.
“I didn’t know for sure that it was going to be the car, but I knew it was going to be something big,” he said Monday.
He put out a call for nominations on his Facebook page and received stories of families struggling without transportation. Groharing’s name was one he was familiar with.
Moody said she used to work as a clerk at a 7-Eleven gas station, where officers often go to buy coffee.
Groharing was always kind and friendly, he said. One thing that also caught Moody’s eye, he said, was that she wore a “Blue Lives Matter” bracelet.
“When we were going through our hard times with the negative narrative that was out there with police, I remember you wore that bracelet every day at the 7-Eleven and faithfully wore it for months until you left,” he told Groharing on Monday. “That meant a lot to me and that played a part as far as doing this for you.”
Groharing said she had first seen her mother wear the bracelet and asked her to get her one, too. She said Monday that she didn’t realize the impact that it made on the officers.
Moody said he got the truck “pretty cheap” from a good friend who was looking for a new truck before moving to the Netherlands.
He put in a new exhaust, replaced the tires, filled up the gas tank, and covered the registration fees. His friend, Tim Clifton, owner of an American Family Insurance agency in Moline, also sponsored a policy that would insure the truck through the end of the year.
“I’m looking at something, a really bigger project than this, especially with all the nominations I got sent to me, I know there are a lot of families that are in desperate need of transportation right now,” he said. “My goal is to work with a dealership and make something really cool happen before Christmas.”
Groharing said she hopes one day to be able to “pay it forward” like Moody.
“I just don’t know what to do that would top this,” she said. “This is awesome.”