Grand Forks Rydell dealership donates 12 vehicles to CVIC clients

Receiving a donated car is "a dream come true," a grateful recipient said

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Christina Greger, recipient of a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu from Rydell Chevrolet, talks with sales representative Kody Schlenvogt about features of the vehicle during Monday's event. Greger was among 12 CVIC clients who received vehicles as part of Rydell's Angels on Wheels donation program.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – For Christina Greger, receiving a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu through Rydell’s Angels on Wheels program is “a dream come true,” she said.

Greger was one of 12 clients of the Community Violence Intervention Center who received the gift of reliable transportation in an event Monday, Dec. 19, at Rydell’s auto dealership on South Washington.

This marks the first time Rydell has conducted this vehicle giveaway program.

When Greger learned by email that she would be receiving the free vehicle, she was “pretty excited. I was in shock,” she said. “I thought the email was spam.” She hasn’t had a car in more than 10 years, and has had to rely on her mother, Mary Nolan, and Uber to get to work, she said. She’ll use the Malibu to drive her daughter, Karisma, who’ll be 1 year old later this month, to her appointments.

“I’m very excited, ecstatic,” Nolan said. “It is well-deserved.”


“The CVIC has done excellent work, they’re awesome,” Nolan added. “They’ve played a big role in Christina’s life. She has a lot of support from CVIC and her family.”

Kody Schlenvogt, a Rydell salesperson, explained and demonstrated features of the shiny black, four-door Malibu to Greger.

“She loves the touch screen, the seats are comfy, and she couldn’t believe the space – the backseats come down to make more room in the trunk,” Schlenvogt said.

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Brian Rydell, owner of Rydell's dealership, said the Angels on Wheels donation program was meant to benefit CVIC clients who are need of reliable transportation.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Brian Rydell, dealership owner, said the idea for the Angels on Wheels program was sparked by a similar program conducted by Rydell’s sister dealerships in the Twin Cities, Twelve Moms of Christmas, which provides vehicles to single mothers.

“We took the idea and ran with it,” he said. But “we wanted to be more inclusive. We wanted to help anyone that’s in need. There are also some dads who are in this situation.”

Transportation is a key factor in meeting everyday demands, he said.

“It’s hard to imagine not having a car to get around with, and get to appointments, and getting the kids to school,” Rydell said. “We are fortunate and happy to be part of this.”

Through the Angels on Wheels program, Rydell’s is giving away a variety of vehicles, including GMC, Chrysler, Toyota, Mazda, Camry, Jeep, and a Honda van.


The total value of the donated vehicle is more than $120,000, said Ben Cahalan, Rydell’s general manager.

Supporting CVIC clients

The new donation program benefits area residents who have experienced interpersonal violence. It is a way to support individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, according to the CVIC.

The program benefits people who are receiving safety and healing services through CVIC and for whom transportation has been a barrier to achieving stability and self-sufficiency.

The used vehicles were donated based on the clients’ family size and needs. One recipient is commuting to Grand Forks, so four-wheel drive was an important feature, Cahalan said. For another, because of their income level, fuel efficiency was crucial. A family with four children received a minivan.

CVIC selected the recipients; Rydell’s only requirement was that the recipient is employed and is able to carry insurance, Cahalan said.

Rydell’s has also donated a $500 gift card with each vehicle that can be used for future oil changes or other auto service needs.

Transportation is crucial

For many CVIC clients, the lack of a personal vehicle prevents them from leaving a violent relationship, according to Coiya Tompkins, CVIC president and ceo. For those who do leave, the journey to independence is often delayed.

Lack of reliable transportation hinders their ability to secure steady work and manage daily life activities such as getting to and from doctor appointments, therapy sessions, school and others, Tompkins said.


To give CVIC clients the best possible chance at rebuilding their lives after interpersonal violence, Rydell worked with CVIC, a nonprofit agency, to match clients in need of transportation, with appropriate vehicles, all donated by Rydell’s.

“Transportation is a common barrier for many of our clients,” Sheila Morris, vice president of advocacy services and a 20-year employee of CVIC, said in a news release.

“To see these 12 clients benefit from such an incredible gift that has the potential to be life-changing is breathtaking,” Morris said. “We’re beyond grateful that Rydell recognizes the value of supporting individuals who have experienced violence and is willing to invest in their futures.”

The Rydell company, which has deep roots in Grand Forks, is committed to giving back to the community it has supported since 1954, said Cahalan.

The Angels on Wheels program is the most recent example of how the company’s vision statement, “to be so effective that we are able to be helpful to others,” is realized in the community, according to a news release from Rydell’s.

Cahalan hopes the donated vehicles will help lead CVIC clients to safer, healthier and more fulfilling lives, he said.

“CVIC is an organization that understands the complex issues faced by those who are leaving abusive situations,” Cahalan said. “Sometimes, basic needs like transportation can make a world of difference. ‘Angels on Wheels’ is one way that Rydell can have a meaningful impact. We’re grateful to CVIC for the work they do, and we’re honored to partner with them for such a special endeavor.”

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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