By Paula Ebben

PEABODY (CBS) – A big surprise and a very generous gift will allow a veterans program in Peabody to expand the transportation help it can give.

Everyone was shocked when the SUV just appeared. And the biggest surprise — no one knows who the donor is.

“I use this ride for everything,” said Army veteran Clifford Provencher. He counts on the veterans shuttle to get to his doctor’s appointments. “Otherwise I’d have no way of getting there.”

The anonymous donation of an SUV surprised Peabody veterans. (WBZ-TV)

Marine veteran Frank Hardy is a volunteer driver. “People like the program, and it’s attracting a lot of interest,” he said.

For two years, the rides have been provided, free of charge, using a 12-year-old van that was donated to the city by Honda North. On some days, there’s a greater demand for lifts than the Peabody Veterans Services can provide. So you can imagine the great surprise when a new Chevy showed up in front of the house of a city councilor.

“It floored all of us,” said Steve Patten, Peabody’s veteran services officer. “This angel decided to purchase a car for the veterans.”

A note was on the windshield “saying, ‘We want to make the lives of Peabody veterans a little bit easier’ and they signed it, ‘Anonymous,'” Patten explained. That’s right, anonymous. The donor apparently isn’t looking for credit or recognition. “These people, they donated their own money – almost $30,000 – to help people,” Patten said.

The new car, together with the old van, will dramatically expand the program. “The addition of the new car is going to allow us to double our efforts to take more veterans to their medical appointments. They say it takes a village, and the village came together and took care of our veterans,” says Patten.

Paula Ebben

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