Lisa Smith, a Liberty County Courthouse maintenance worker, was surprised by her fellow co-workers on Thursday when she was given keys to a car. For months, Smith has been hitching a ride with a co-worker after her vehicle broke down and she was unable to have it repaired.
After being distracted by a ruse of needing to clean up a spill in one of the courtroom offices on Thursday, Smith was led outside to find dozens of courthouse employees standing together and wishing her a Merry Christmas.
As Smith came closer, the group moved aside to reveal a present for her – a 2006 Chevy HHR, bright white and with only 100,000 miles. The purchase of the car came from funds raised by courthouse employees. Inside the vehicle were boxes of food items to help brighten the holidays for Smith, her husband and their two children. Smith also was given $1,000 in cash to be used for insurance, fuel or other expenses.
Reeling from the gesture, Smith gave tearful hugs to several co-workers before peering inside the vehicle.
“Give us a little vroom, vroom,” yelled one of her co-workers. Smith responded by getting in the driver’s seat and starting up the car as everyone cheered.
“I am in a state of shock,” she said. “I can’t believe they did this for me. I am very grateful.”
While it came as a surprise to Smith, her co-workers explained why everyone pitched together when the fundraiser was initially organized by the courthouse security team. They describe her as a kind soul who, along with the rest of the maintenance department, makes sure everything in the courthouse is in tip-top condition. The fundraiser initially started as a firearm raffle organized by courthouse security officers, but it quickly grew when everyone realized that it was to benefit Smith and her family.
“Lisa works extra jobs to make ends meet for her family,” said Monica Glover. “She is just a great person and she needs this.”