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Thursday, 15 December 2016 23:07

Springfield Shop Helps Family Whose Car Was Vandalized

Written by Samara Abramson,

Keyed Car 2

A West Springfield family found 'Go Home' keyed into their car in mid November.
Photo credit: Western Mass News

A local family turned to Western Mass News for help after they said that they were victims of a hate crime.

Now, a local auto body shop is getting involved.


That family lives in West Springfield on a normally quiet street, and they said that they've never had any issues since they moved to town five years ago.


After going through this devastating event, they're getting to know the kindness of some of their neighbors.


The Santiago family woke up on the morning of November 17 and saw the words 'Trump' and 'Go home' keyed into their car.


"I served 14 years. We're U.S. citizens and we didn't expect this to happen in our backyard," said Jorge Santiago of West Springfield, who is an Army veteran.


Santiago said that they're the only minority family on their quiet street. He said that his wife didn't post about the vandalism on Facebook for attention.


"She posted it just so people could be aware of it," Santiago explained.

Keyed Car 1

Photo credit: Western Mass News

However, the family got a little more than that.


"We're gonna make his world a little different here," said Joe Houghton, owner of Maaco, an auto body shop in West Springfield.


Houghton saw the story on Western Mass News and decided he had to help.


Maaco is taking care of Santiago's car for him and gave him a tour of the shop on Monday, November 21.


Things then sped up.


"We're gonna get you into a rental car from Enterprise right now. You're good with that, right? We're not moving too fast?" Houghton explained.


Manny Guzman from Maaco added, "It's very near and dear to our hearts. Veterans are very important to us, especially when they're a part of our community, so I contacted Western Mass News."


Guzman asked to get in contact with Santiago to set the whole thing up.


"So I reached out and set up this meeting, just so we can let them know they're welcome here. We love having them as a part of our community," Guzman explained.


Santiago added, "When you guys called my wife on Saturday, she started crying; I got teary-eyed, even here, and that's just what it is. We're thankful to them for helping us."


Santiago noted that since this happened last week, he has set up lights and cameras around his house and driveway, comparing it to a football stadium.


The family has also contacted police, who are investigating, while Santiago and his wife work to comfort their worried children.


We would like to thank Western Mass News for reprint permission.

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