Virginia Meece isn’t one to take credit for her good deeds.
“I had very little to do with it,” she said of her recent act of generosity. “It was all the Lord’s doing.”
But even if she is doing God’s will, Meece has impressed those around her at the Highlands Assisted Living Community — where she now lives — with her recent actions.
Meece, 85, gave up the car she’d driven for over 20 years to a family in need — although she didn’t know exactly who she’d be giving it to when she made the decision.
“The thought came to my mind that someday if I no longer drive, I’d like to donate my car to someone,” said Meece, still every bit the picture of a bright and spry woman.
“I knew it was going to be given away, but I knew it was going to be given to someone who needed a car,” she continued. “The Lord placed it on my heart. It had to be a superior power.”
In late March, she finally had her daughter contact King of Kings Radio — the local Christian radio station run by David Carr — to volunteer the car for use by someone else who might need it.
No one but God could have seen what came next.
Beulah McCoy was attending Carr’s church, Somerset Baptist Temple. Her van — with 350,000 miles on it — had finally bitten the proverbial dust. Carr had tried to fix it, but after the van broke down yet again, he declared it “unfixable” and pledged to help find McCoy another vehicle, she said.
“I’d have to catch a ride to work, and a few times I had to walk because there was no way home,” said McCoy. “It was really rough. I was paying rent, electric, water, and had no money left to do anything with.”
Said Meece, “This lady’s son, who was 13, was riding the church bus. He was so concerned because she was walking two miles a day.”
The boy, Derik, went to eat with Carr after church that Sunday in late March. “Bro. Dave said, ‘Derik, we need to pray about getting your mom a van.’ (Derik) said, ‘I’m really worried about Mom,’ so him and Bro. Dave prayed that night,” said McCoy.
On Monday morning, Carr got an email.
It was a life-changing one.
“Mrs. Meece said she had a car and wanted to give it to (Carr) to give to someone who needed it,” said McCoy. “(Carr) said, ‘I know who needs a car.’”
Meece put the car in the clergyman’s hands on Friday. The next Monday, Carr and McCoy went to have the license and registration transferred to her.
“I was surprised,” said McCoy. “It just shows what God can do.”
The car is a 1987 Oldsmobile model, one which Meece had owned since 1989. “It’s doing great,” reports McCoy. “It’s real cheap on gas, gets about 30 miles to the gallon. I followed Bro. Carr to Tompkinsville, Ky. the other day, and didn’t use $25 worth of gas.”
Since moving into The Highlands just about five weeks ago, Meece wasn’t using the vehicle anymore. Inspired by her faith to let someone else use it who would need it more than her — and aided by her daughters Rita Gossett and Diana Barnes — Meece still gets to see her faithful old vehicle, however.
McCoy is a cook in the kitchen at the Somerwoods Nursing and Rehabilitation facility — which is right down the street from The Highlands.
“It’s parked right over here,” said Meece. “When my daughter and I drive past there, there it sits. I just get a thrill when I see it over there.”
Jeanie Balentine, activities director at The Highlands, said that Meece — a former Avon salesperson and packer at the Sunshine Biscuit Company in Dayton, Ohio — stays active, participating in activities even when tired from her dialysis treatments.
“She’s just a real trooper,” said Balentine, of the wife of the late Thurman “T.E.” Meece. “She’s as sweet as the day is long.”
Balentine heard of Meece’s actions from other Highlands employees, who were taken aback when Meece told them she’d just given away her car. Balentine was curious and went to ask Meece about the story herself.
“She said she can’t believe I asked her that,” said Balentine, noting the irony of her next statement. “She thought it was selfless of me to ask her.”
Added Balentine, “It’s like one of those pay-it-forward things. The way that the world is right now, I feel that compassion that she had for a total stranger, just to give her someone because she didn’t have any use for it (is special).”
McCoy and her son went to visit Meece to say “thank you” a couple of weeks after getting the car. It was a pleasurable experience for both.
“I really enjoyed it,” said McCoy, who plans on continuing to visit Meece in the future. “We were there for two hours. We just had a great time. She’s such a sweet person, I just think the world of (Meece).”
The feeling was mutual.
“(The McCoys) were the sweetest, kindest, most appreciative people you’d ever want to be around,” said Meece.
“I don’t have the words for it,” she said when asked how it felt to know what had happened from her decision to give away her car. “It’s so emotional. I just know people have been so good to me, and above all, my Savior.”
By contacting the radio station she listened to so often, Meece — with help from above — was able to make a difference in McCoy’s life. It’s a bond she’ll never forget.
“I really didn’t think there were people out there that would do something like this. I really didn’t,” said McCoy. “I’ve had to struggle through life. ... I’ve heard of people giving other people stuff, but I didn’t realize it would happen to me.”