By Jen Bakken
A shiny, new silver van was getting detailed at Delano Dodge Thursday morning.
Numerous employees checked over the vehicle to make sure it was in perfect condition.
The 2008 Town and Country Touring Van was donated to the Munoz family.
Kristine and Terry Munoz have both been active youth ministers in the area, and started Side by Side Ministries in 1999, which is based in Golden Valley.
Kristine was the youth minister at Delano Catholic Community until 1998. Terry was the youth minister at St. Therese in Deephaven for many years before the couple started Side by Side Ministries.
The Munoz family was involved in a serious head-on accident with a semi-truck just west of Waverly Oct. 9. As a result of extensive injuries, the family lost their 16-year-old son, Sam, after he was unable to survive once taken off of life support.
Other family members, including his mother, Kristine, and his siblings, Amanda and Joshua, were also in the vehicle during the crash, and sustained significant injuries.
With strong ties to the area, it’s no surprise that the community has rallied to support the family in many ways. They have been staying with a Delano family while they receive generous help in finishing the family home in Howard Lake.
Area residents have been taking turns providing meals, and Stephanie Russek, who knows the Munoz family and works for Delano Dodge, suggested her employer help out.
As partners of the company, Robert Cail, Tony Donahue, and Jeff Vanderlinde knew they had to do what they could.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Cail.
With help from some of their employees, who made donations, and from Allstate Peterbilt Utility, Delano Dodge was able to present the family with a two-year lease on the brand new van.
At a benefit in November, the family was informed they would receive the vehicle to help transport Kristine, who is currently in a wheelchair. With Stow-n-Go seats, the van will make traveling much easier for the family.
“Very nice, very kind,” said Terry Munoz when he saw his new van for the first time. “We are so grateful.”
To find out more information about the Munoz family, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/munoz.
To inquire about Side by Side Ministries, visit www.sbsyouth.org.