Community Helps Replace StolenHandicapped Van

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BILLINGS, Mont. - (12/27/04) -- Gene Amestoy got a special Christmasgift from the community this year. Friends and family, includingAvanta FCU (formerly Laurel FCU) raised almost $15,000 to helpreplace Amestoy's 1988 Ford van, equipped with an automatic liftfor Amestoy's wheelchair, that was stolen last month. The van,stolen from in front of Amestoy's apartment, was found by sheriff'sdeputies but not until it had been gutted by the thieves, whoremoved the stereo, speakers, lights, seat cushions and thealternator. When news of the theft became public people in thecommunity mobilized to help replace the van for Amestoy, whosuffers from multiple sclerosis. Members and employees of thecredit union donated $4,600 during a fundraiser, the ThriventFinancial Financial for Lutherans raising $5,300, and localresidents made up the rest.

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