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By Amy Scherzer | St. Petersburg Times | May 4, 2007

Amy Scherzer's Diary:
Wheels of Success

Old hub caps, donated by Sam the Hubcap Man, were shined up and presented to companies that repair and replace cars for the working poor, said Wheels of Success CEO and founder Susan Jacobs at the first Hub Cap Awards luncheon April 27.

Meeting Mary and Russell Wilkie of Gulfport was the highlight for 250 guests at the luncheon, dubbed R.A.C.E. (Recognition & Appreciation for our Champions Event), at the Quorum Hotel.

Emcee Jack Harris of WFLA-AM 970 read Russell's e-mail explaining he was a bilateral amputee who broke his neck learning to walk on prosthetics. Then Mary lost her job and they lost their home and car.

Wheels of Success gave the couple a 1995 Ford F-150 truck.

"First thing I'm going to do is take my husband on a picnic, " said Mary, who spent hours on the bus getting to work and school.

R.A.C.E. raised more than $20, 000, plus the $400 collected when guests tossed their spare change into the hub cap centerpieces, enough to buy a new battery, repair a radiator or assist with a car payment.

 
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