|Sage’s determination aids local family
Haspod family gets new cars as result of friend’s help
According to Ann Sage, doing good in the world means doing more than simply wanting to help; it means putting politics and motives aside, stepping up to the plate and opening your big mouth in order to get something done.
And that is exactly what she did to try to help the Haspod family. She used her big mouth and her desire to help her close friends find two very much needed donated cars for a disadvantaged family.
The Haspods are a family of six – mother and father and four young children – and currently find themselves homeless, living together in Rohnert Park’s Budget Inn hotel. Of the four children, two attend school in Petaluma and the youngest, 1-year-old Zalen, had open-heart surgery at six-months old and has been in and out of the hospital ever since. The family was, when Sage met them, also without a car. As you can imagine, it made getting to school or the hospital extremely difficult.
Sage met the Haspod family some time ago when she found herself homeless. She, her husband and special needs son were staying at the same hotel as the Haspods when she met daughter Kay Lomolino, then 2-years-old.
“When everything started crashing, so did we,” said Sage. “I needed to have a granddaughter near me, and Kay took that spot. I think of all the children like my grandchildren.”
Sage, whose biological grandchild lives in Texas with her son, took a quick, fierce liking to Kay and her entire family, and an instant connection was made. The two families bonded over their children, their situation, the fact both Sage and Jenny Haspod, the mother, are diabetic, and found a kinship that is sometimes hard to find in any path of life, let alone within unfortunate circumstances.
Sage and her family eventually found their way out of the hotel with the help of a church member and friend who offered to rent his condo for an affordable rate. The two families remained close friends, and as Sage’s love for her friends grew, so did her concern, particularly for one family member and how the lack of car could affect his livelihood.
“I just kept thinking about Zalen; how can I help this little boy,” Sage said. “I kept thinking if that was me, I would steal a car to help my kids. It broke my heart.”
Though stealing a car was not Sage’s ultimate choice of action, she did play a dominant role in securing not one, but two donated cars for the family. Her first step and attempt in finding a car was discovering local Santa Rosa radio station Froggy92.9 FM was planning on giving a car away to a needy family. Sage sent in an email to the radio station, but after a long period of silence, she assumed the station had chosen another family and figured she’d best find another means of getting a car.
Finally, after many emails to many dealerships, Roberto Galvez, general manager of Henry Curtis Ford in Petaluma, responded with interest to donate a car to the Haspods. Galvez shared with Sage his dealerships plan on renovating an old van, big enough to seat all six members of the Haspod family and filling that car with toys and clothes for the children. The Haspod family will receive the car this Saturday.
Not long after, G and C Auto Body, in affiliation with Froggy92.2 FM called Jenny Haspod to announce they would like to donate to her family a car, which the family picked up from the dealership that night.
Though she played a large role in acquiring the two cars for the family and each car is coming donated, free of charge, Sage does not believe this is a story of heroism or of rescue. Instead, this is a story of help, in its simplest and purest form.
“I don’t think people should just be handed things,” said Sage, “but when people are turning to you for help, step up to the plate. We need to recognize that people need help, and that’s not a political thinking; that is humanity thinking.”
With the two cars, the family can begin to find footholds in their lives. Chris, the father, can use one car to go to work, while Jenny can use the other to drive the children to school. More importantly, little Zalen can be driven to his doctors and hospital in San Francisco. Sage hopes the publicity of the donated cars will not only inspire others to help their fellow man, but also to rent out a home to the Haspods so the family can leave the hotel.
Sage remains close with the Haspods, seeing them nearly every day. She still considers the family her own, and the two continue to be living examples of love, friendship and kinship between fellow man.