Sitting around is not something that comes easy to Scott Wolford, of Westminster. Not as a 17-year veteran of both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.
“That’s what my fiancee, Shanna, says. I can’t sit still,” Wolford said with a laugh. “I’ve got to do something all the time.”
And so the past six months have been rough: While dealing with multiple leg and hip surgeries to deal with the aftermath of being wounded in Afghanistan, Wolford and his fiancee also lost both their vehicles.
“One got totaled and one fell apart,” he said. “It’s been pretty devastating. I haven’t been able to do anything.”
That’s all going to change after Tuesday afternoon, when Wolford was given the keys to a dark gray 2011 Ford Focus, donated by Mudgett’s Auto Body, of Finksburg, and with new tires courtesy of Auto Correct Car Car to boot.
“It’s a really nice vehicle,” Wolford said. “I have no words.”
It turns out that Mudgett’s Auto Body owner Thomas Mudgett Sr. had been looking for someone just like Wolford for months now, a veteran who could really use a set of wheels.
“While we get to stay home and do all the fun things, the veterans are out there fighting for our freedoms. It was important to me to give a car to a veteran,” Mudgett said. “I think this car is a perfect fit for him. That way he can get to work and keep going in a good, positive direction.”
Wolford enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after graduating Westminster High School in 1989. He eventually served seven years with the corps, first as an engineer working with explosives and later with the Second Force Reconnaissance Company.
“I went to the first Gulf War, and then I went to Somalia for Mogadishu,” he said.
After getting out of the Marines, and a few weeks of civilian life, Wolford decided he wanted back in, but ended up signing with the Army and spending 10 years in the Army Special Forces.
“I did back-to-back tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. And then my last tour of Afghanistan is when I got wounded,” he said. “An RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) hit the room I was in and almost took my legs off. So I’ve had some ongoing problems.”
On Wednesday, Wolford will undergo surgery to remove a portion of his left hip and femur, and said having a vehicle again will be a tremendous help.
“After the surgery it will be able to get me to the rehabilitation I need to get to and then back to work,” he said. “Even after 17 years, my pension doesn’t quite cover my bills, so I still have to work.”
Mudgett had the car, but he didn’t know veterans in need of a vehicle, much less Wolford specifically.
The person who connected the two men was Charles Wheatley III, co-director of the Learning Institute for Excellence, in Westminster, a nonprofit that works with children with learning difficulties.
“Now we are working with veterans because we believe there is a real need,” Wheatley said. “This is the first of a series we hope will be taking place, and we were glad to hear we had a person as kind as Mr. Mudgett and his family, who were willing to help out a veteran.”
“I met Mr. Wheatley through the veterans organization here in Carroll County, who was also telling me about Mr. Mudgett, how they went out of their way to get a vehicle to help veterans out,” Wolford added. “I owe a lot to these gentlemen right here, because I have to be honest: If you put me in the middle of a situation where you throw bullets at me, I know what to do. But honestly, out here? I’m kind of at a loss.”
Mudgett said that he would like to make an annual donation of a car to a local veteran in need, and Wheatley, too, hopes to make it a regular occurrence.
“I hope that we can set this as a pattern,” Whealtey said. “We already have another car in line and we hope that we can do this for a number of veterans.”
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A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the business that donated the new tires for the vehicle donated to Scott Wolford. That business is Auto Correct Car Care, of Finksburg.