Giveaway helps young Mississippi mom Lauren Ward who’s balancing work, school

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BALDWYN (AP) — A 20-year-old Mississippi mom who is attending college, working in a restaurant and raising a toddler is receiving something she needed: A car of her own.

Lauren Ward of Booneville received the 2007 Cadillac sedan in a Mother’s Day car giveaway sponsored by seven local automotive parts, sales and service businesses, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

Chance George, the father of Ward’s 14-month-old daughter Chaislyn, was killed in a car accident in December, and Ward’s mother, Carla Gann, died in April.

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Ward is studying at Northeast Mississippi Community College to prepare for nursing school and works part-time at Fisher’s Restaurant in Booneville. Because she didn’t have money to buy a car, she has relied on relatives — especially her 78-year-old grandfather — for rides to work, school, church and doctor’s appointments.

“I feel like a big weight has been taken off,” Ward said as she received the keys.

Ward’s aunt, Melissa Barnes, wrote an essay to nominate her niece for the contest.

“She needed a vehicle and deserved it,” Barnes said.

Kevin Walls works for Estes Garage, one of the seven auto care centers in the business development group that sponsored the giveaway as a community service project. Thirty-four essays were submitted. Walls said it was difficult to pick a winner: “We were moved by some of the stories that people told us.”