John Furman goes over a maintenance checklist he and several volunteers performed on Debbie Backle’s car Saturday at the Love INC Car Care Clinic. The volunteers serviced 12 cars at the quarterly event at The Journey at First Baptist Church.

Photo by Nicole Inglis

John Furman goes over a maintenance checklist he and several volunteers performed on Debbie Backle’s car Saturday at the Love INC Car Care Clinic. The volunteers serviced 12 cars at the quarterly event at The Journey at First Baptist Church.

Church runs car clinic in Craig

Two years after her daughter died of leukemia, Craig resident Debbie Backle keeps many of her things around.

Her Furby collection, her jewelry.

She also kept her daughter’s gold 2002 Hyundai Sonata as a daily reminder of the past.

Backle said she doesn’t plan to get rid of it in her lifetime. It’s more than a car to her, she said.

“It means a lot to me,” she said as she got out of the Sonata at The Journey at First Baptist Church on Saturday morning.

But, with three jobs keeping her busy, maintaining the car’s upkeep is sometimes difficult.

That’s where the Love INC Car Care Clinic comes in.

Love INC, a faith-based, non-profit organization, offers the clinic quarterly, focusing on helping single mothers, seniors and people with disabilities properly maintain their vehicles.

The clinic ran Saturday, servicing 12 cars in the Journey at First Baptist’s parking lot.

Love INC board chairman John Furman said it takes about 40 volunteer hours to host each clinic.

“We’re serving God by serving others,” he said.

Gary Morse, who volunteered at the Car Care Clinic, said the Journey at First Baptist’s Bible study class was looking for a purposeful project when it launched the program five years ago.

“We felt God was leading our ministry to do this,” Morse said. “It felt like something we could do for our community.”

With the help of donations from local automotive businesses, a group of volunteers spends about 15 minutes on each car, checking lights, turn signals, fluids and the battery.

None of the volunteers are mechanics by trade, but all know their way around a car engine.

With assembly line-like efficiency Saturday, four men tightened caps and poured fluids under Backle’s hood and filled her tires with air.

The volunteers reviewed their findings with the car owner, and directed them to professional mechanics around town for further maintenance.

“Most people don’t know how to do these things, or they don’t have the money to pay someone else to do it,” Morse said.

The group maintains a network of automotive workers in Craig who will help Love INC’s clients with discounts on oil changes and other maintenance after the clinic.

Furman said he sees a variety of issues in the cars that come to the clinics.

“I think every car that came in today had a flat spare tire,” he said. “One had no oil on the dipstick.”

He said one woman came in with four bald tires and said her car shook and vibrated as she drove.

Backle didn’t have any significant issues with her car, however.

Furman said she likely needed an oil change, and that her car’s occasional inability to start could be due to corrosion on the battery terminal, which the volunteers cleaned off.

Backle, who had never attended the clinic before, called the program “awesome.”

“Men are good for a lot of things,” Backle said with a laugh. “Especially cars.”

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