Liberty Bay Auto van giveaway seeks applicants

POULSBO — Liberty Bay Auto is revving up the season of giving this year with a mini-van giveaway, and is now seeking nominations from the public to find a deserving recipient.

A 2003 Ford Windstar LX is set to be donated, stuffed full of groceries and flowers, on Dec. 14, and Liberty Bay Auto Internet and marketing director Rene Sontolongo said he’s hoping Little Norway will respond with some worthy candidates.

“Doug Haughton, who’s been in the car business for 40 plus years and is the general manager, has a commitment to the community and wants to give back,” he said. “We give them a reliable mode of transportation, so they don’t have to worry about any of the maintenance, and gas for a year.”

Liberty Bay Auto replaces its customer shuttle van every three years, and donates its gently-used retired vehicles to a person or family in need in the community. The auto dealer gave away a similar van in December 2004. Nearly 200 applications were submitted that year — representing 131 families — and the giveaway itself was a moment the store’s staff has yet to forget.

“There wasn’t a dry eye here,” Sontolongo said. “It is very cool to be able to touch somebody that way.”

In a prepared statement, Haughton said the 2004 selection process, during which they narrowed down to 181 applications, was a difficult but worthwhile one.

“The process was extremely humbling and I only wish we had more vans to give away,” he said. “Thankfully, the selection team worked through this challenging task and selected a truly deserving family.”

Liberty Bay Auto has been serving customers in the area since 1989. Its showroom boasts a miniature country store and vintage memorabilia shop.

“It’s a completely different used car dealership,” Sontolongo said. “We take care of our customers, go out of our way to make sure they’re happy.”

The overwhelming commitment to good, old-fashioned customer service is what separates us from everyone else.”

Entry forms for the giveaway can be picked up at Liberty Bay Auto Center, participating churches and sponsors. The entry deadline is Nov. 21.

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