By Michael S. Hoey


Advanced Auto Clinic in Delavan had a fundraiser Saturday for the Boys and Girls Club of Walworth County and gave away a reconditioned GMC Yukon as part of its “Deserving Rides” program.

Tony Lynn, owner of Advanced Auto Clinic, said he has donated to many groups over the years and chose the Boys and Girls Club for this event because he knew Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis was very involved with the club and he felt choosing that organization would be a big draw to raise money. For a one-dollar donation, people had the chance to dunk Nieuwenuis in the dunk tank. The $81 raised was donated to the Boys and Girls Club.

Lynn said the “Deserving Rides” program is something his business organized to honor people who have contributed to the community. The clinic takes a vehicle that a customer doesn’t want any more, makes it mechanically sound, and spruces it up a bit to give to a deserving person.

The original goal was to give away one vehicle a year. Lynn gave a car away last December and plans to again this December, but he received another donated vehicle and decided to give it away now. Fred Krablean of Neenah donated his GMC Yukon. Lynn said the first vehicle was donated to one person because it was a car. Because this vehicle was an SUV, he marketed the give-away as for a deserving family.

The winner of the Yukon was Patty Sonheim of Delavan. Lynn said Sonheim was the first choice of three judges and the second choice of the other two. She was the only nominee that was named on all five ballots.

Lynn said people had to be nominated and the committee of five would pick someone they felt was selfless and a big contributor to their community. The car that given away in December was given to a man who helps out a lot at Twin Oaks Homeless Shelter and his car had broken down. There were nominees from Clinton, East Troy, Whitewater, and Lake Geneva in addition to Delavan for the Yukon.

Lynn said Sonheim has been a single mother to her children for most of their lives and has given much to the community. She has volunteered at Twin Oaks Homeless Shelter, sat on the board of directors for Community Action, is on the Park and Recreation Committee for the City of Delavan, and has volunteered at Sophos, the youth center in Elkhorn. She has also been a youth group leader at her church in Elkhorn and goes to Chicago every year with that group to help feed and clothe the homeless.

Sonheim has gone on at least seven mission trips to help other people. Just a few weeks ago, Lynn said she heard about a family in need on People Helping People and donated $100 worth of food to the family. She also recently helped people who experienced flooding a few weeks ago in Elkhorn through Noah’s Ark Elkhorn 2017. She has adopted families during the Christmas season and when she hears about someone in need she posts it on her Facebook page to get the word out.

According to Lynn, Sonheim is often referred to as a half-way house because she often takes in nieces and nephews and other teenagers into her home when they have needed a place to stay. About six months ago, she took the children of a friend who was dying of cancer under her wing.

“I got help when I needed it, now I give back,” Sonheim was quoted in the nomination.

Lynn said Sonheim has taught her own children to give back as well. Her son is a soccer coach in Elkhorn who has purchased soccer items for players who didn’t have it. Her daughter cares for two young children whose mother cannot take care of.

Lynn said Sonheim has gone without so other could have what they need, but that has become more difficult recently as her car has over 250,000 miles on it and is no longer reliable. He said she doesn’t drive it out of town any more as a result.

Lynn thanked his own technicians for donating time to recondition the Yukon, NAPA for a $500 donation to pay for parts, and Recreational Upholstery in Walworth for helping to beautify the interior of the vehicle.

WSLD broadcast live and gave away a pair of tickets and a limousine ride from Abracadabra Limousine to Wrigley Field to see the Zac Brown Band on Aug. 26. WSLD and Lynn also provided door prizes and Sorg’s donated brats and hot dogs. The band “Most Wanted” performed live music for the event. The food and the music were free to those who attended.

Lynn said he was born and raised in Delavan and this event was a way to give back to the community.

“We wanted to give back to someone who has given to the community,” Lynn said of the gift of an SUV to Sonheim.


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