WAKARUSA — While Allied Specialty Vehicle is leaving Wakarusa, it’s leaving on a high note, giving Hello Gorgeous! more than charity founders Mike and Kim Becker expected.
The Beckers and others affiliated with Hello Gorgeous! went to the Monaco/Holiday Rambler office expecting to have their nearly 20-year-old Holiday Rambler presented to them with a makeover. “They had thought they were getting their bus with a makeover, which they needed it,” said Ashley Krieg, an Elkhart businesswoman who volunteers with the charity, donates to it and was on hand Friday, July 12.
Kim Becker said their motorhome had suffered water damage and was showing enough wear she didn’t think she could drive it safely on long trips, but a company representative contacted them and arranged to fix it up.
When the employees rolled out “Hope,” the refurbished Endeavour motorhome, Becker said, “They brought it out and it was beautiful and gorgeous and I couldn’t have asked for more ... and then they said come on, you have to get back on stage.
“All of a sudden here comes this second bus with our logo on it and I started to sob. It was just completely overwhelming.”
The employees told Becker hope goes hand in hand with faith — so they rolled out “Faith,” a 2012 Ambassador refurbished by Holiday Rambler employees to serve as a sister mobile day spa.
“I am completely and utterly overwhelmed,” Becker said. “Every door has signatures on it. A piece of every one of those employees who worked on that bus will be with me on every makeover. They completely shocked me. I just had no clue. No clue.”
The charity provides free makeovers and spa experiences to women battling all forms of cancer. Krieg said, “It was just absolutely an amazing thing for two people who deserve it, who can touch so many women. They were absolutely shocked.”
Becker had a dream of getting her motorhome fixed up and before getting it back, driving to the factory and grabbing an employee to get the full Hello Gorgeous! treatment.
She took a donated limo to the plant Friday morning and “kidnapped” an employee, fighting her third cancer, and took her to Fix Salon, where they gave the woman a full makeover.
Then they came back for the big reveal of the made-over employee and the motorhome. And then the other motorhome.
“It was a dream come true. I can’t even tell you what these people have done to pour their heart and soul into,” Becker said. “It’s the most selfless gift I’ve ever received.”
Mike Snell, president of Holiday Rambler, said in a written announcement about the private event, “I can’t think of a better way to support one of our much-deserving employees and an incredibly worthy cause at the same time. Hello Gorgeous! uplifts women who are meeting one of life’s greatest challenges and we commend their efforts.”
Allied bought Monaco and Holiday Rambler earlier this year and decided to move motorhome production to its Decatur facility outside Fort Wayne, a move happening this summer. Once they’ve moved out, Thor plans to occupy the manufacturing campus on Wakarusa’s south side.
Becker said, “This meant so much to them to be able to give this to us and make a not-so-good situation into a really, really, really good situation.”