Peninsula College student receives donated auto
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Pictured with the donated van are, from left, Leo Gomez, Peninsula College English as a Second Language instructor Sean Sebastian Gomez, Meskerem Zega, Peninsula College Foundation board President Joe Floyd, Development Manager Getta Rogers and Peninsula College automotive instructor Mike Hansen.

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A single mother making her way in a new country got a boost from an anonymous donor last week.

Meskerem Zega of Port Angeles received a refurbished Dodge Caravan from the Peninsula College Foundation, which received it from a donor.

To Zega, it's all been quite “amazing,” said Phyllis Van Holland, Peninsula College spokeswoman.

“Amazing” is Zega's favorite word, which she uses to describe just about everything, particularly her new life and her new van, Van Holland said.

Zega, an immigrant from Ethiopia, arrived on the North Olympic Peninsula with her husband, a Port Angeles resident, and their young son about two years ago.

She had little command of the English language and a degree in accounting and business that isn't valid in the U.S.

Shortly after their arrival, Zega found herself raising her son on her own, with no family or friends for support, nowhere to live and a language barrier, Van Holland said.

She began working 17 hours a week at Serenity House. Four months ago, she learned she could attend Peninsula College, to work toward an associate degree in business administration, return to her profession and support her son.

With no car, Zega spent four hours a day during eight trips on public transit getting from work to school and to her son's day care center.

The task proved almost overwhelming, Van Holland said.

An anonymous donor provided the car through the Peninsula College Foundation, which gifted the car to Zega.

Now, Zega is better able to keep up with her busy schedule.

“One never knows how much a gift, given generously from the heart, can change another person's life,” said Getta Rogers, development manager for the Peninsula College Foundation.

To donate or for more information, phone 360-417-6400 or visit the website at

Last modified: June 17. 2014 5:52PM
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