Crandon man receives brand new car after incredible fundraiser support

Scott Brass and James Aldridge at Rhinelander GM in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, on June 6, 2020....
Scott Brass and James Aldridge at Rhinelander GM in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, on June 6, 2020. (WSAW)(WSAW)
Published: Jun. 6, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT
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When Scott Brass started a fundraiser to get James Aldridge a car just over a week ago, he had modest expectations.

"My original goal was going to be like a $1,000, $2,000 car,” said Brass. “You know something cheap, reliable."

A week ago about $3,000 had been raised, by the time it was all said and done?

"$22,000,” Brass said.

With that, Brass and Rhinelander GM were able to give Aldridge a brand new 2020 Chevy Sonic.

"This car, it has everything,” said Aldridge, of Crandon. “Everything you need and more."

Aldridge said he almost cried when Brass first told him about the fundraiser. There was no almost on Saturday.

"I thought about the first day I was in Walmart and bought the bike,” said Aldridge. “It's just basically like it's over, you don't have to ride in the rain anymore. You don't have to lose sleep anymore, your journey, well done."

"It feels like I was walking up a mountain, a steep mountain. And I finally got to the top of that mountain."

Many have reached out to Brass to thank him for leading the way in making this happen, but he doesn't need props to feel good about what he's done.

"The smile on his face, and just how happy he is, and how thankful he is, that's enough for me,” said Brass.

Aldridge's commute goes from five hours round trip to one. He already has plans on how to use the extra time.

"Me and this car, we've got some catching up to do,” said Aldridge.

"I want to invest it, and just try to find ways to give back to the community. Whether that's volunteering where I can, telling my story where I can."

And the last word from a man who's been through it all to get to this point?

"That's the message that I want to leave with everyone, if I can do it, anyone can do it."

Besides the car, Brass and Rhinelander GM hooked Aldridge up with gas cards, insurance paid for a year, and fittingly coming soon, a bike rack. Although Aldridge said he's going to give his bike a rest for a bit, because it's treated him so well.