NewsPinellas County


Community helps veteran get a car so he can take son to and from hospital

Posted at 7:45 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 19:45:56-04

Karl Newman forgot how sweet the sound of starting an engine can be.

Six months ago, his car broke down. The damage was too expensive to fix. Then during the pandemic, he had to take a leave of absence from his job in order to protect his 4-year-old son who was at home in remission from leukemia.

“Not only does he have leukemia but he’ll have CMV the rest of his life. For you and me, CMV is a common cold. For him, it takes him out,” said Newman.

Just getting his son to the hospital for treatment was a challenge for this army veteran.

“We were depending on friends. I would actually go out and rent a car for a day if we had to, or we would use medi-taxis,” said Newman.

That’s when Newman was introduced to Susan Jacobs, founder of Wheels of Success. Since 2003 the organization has gifted more than 1,000 used cars to individuals and families throughout the Tampa Bay area.

“We are a tiny little charity, we rely on donated cars to get them fixed,” said Jacobs.

When Newman found out he’d be receiving a Chevy HHR, it was a sense of freedom.

“Just being able to go downstairs, load him up in the car, and go on your own, is a lot easier, it makes life so much simpler,” said Newman.

“This isn’t a perfect car but hopefully it’s going to get you to your dreams, that’s what we care about, is it going to get you to where you need to go,” said Jacobs.

And as an added bonus, Newman will also be recognized at the Grand Prix of St. Pete when it returns in October. He might not be racing, but he says he feels like every time he gets behind the wheel, he’s taking a victory lap.

“Not having the extra cash to put a down payment on a car, basically this was a blessing,” said Newman.

For more information go to