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And You Thought You Had a Bad Week: Perfect Storm Hits Habitat Vehicles

All five vehicles used by the agency, which works to provide Macomb County families with decent and affordable housing, fizzled out in the same week.

Macomb County Habitat for Humanity volunteers are coping with a string of bad luck – all five of the nonprofit agency's vehicles developed mechanical problems in one week. (Patch file photo)
Macomb County Habitat for Humanity volunteers are coping with a string of bad luck – all five of the nonprofit agency's vehicles developed mechanical problems in one week. (Patch file photo)

Macomb County Habitat for Humanity has been hit by a perfect storm of bad luck.

“We have an expression at Habitat when things go wrong that fits our experience this week: ‘This could only happen at Habitat,” Helen Hicks, the group’s executive director said.

What went wrong was that all five of the non-profit’s vehicles developed mechanical problems during the same week. None of them is currently operational.

It started Monday, when the timing belt broke on oldest of their transport vans with over 200,000 miles – dubbed “The Creeper Van.”It’s so old Habitat has decided to retire it. It will be laid to rest in a junk yard as soon as the agency can have it towed, Hicks said.

On Tuesday, the oil light started blinking on the brown Chevy van used to transport water to volunteers working on Habitat homes. It will be serviced over Easter break to determine why.

The same afternoon, a 24-foot box truck, used to pick up donated items for the agency’s ReStore, began burning fuses and the front left tire blew out without warning.

A construction staff worker determined there were other issues with another truck. The fuel injectors were clogged and the vehicle will have to be repaired.

Then, on wednesday, the last of the agency’s vehicles, a 14-foot Ford truck used for deconstruction services, stalled when the driver placed his foot on the brake. The brake light came on and the vehicle began to pull violently to the left.

Hicks and her staff are taking the Murphy’s Law kind fo week in stride.

“We really can’t complain,” she said. “These challenges are sent our way to see how we handle adversity or simply to make us smile. By the time the last of the vehicles broke, we were all laughing so hard we were crying.”

Hicks hopes the agency will be able to find the resources to repair four of the five vehicles as even one day without working vehicles can keep families from moving into their homes in a timely manner.

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