Car dealer gives free loaners to nurses because 'we're all in this together'

  • Fox Valley Volkswagen salesman Leonard Sfondouris, center, speaks with Talia Berman, a nurse at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, on Friday after 11 loaner vehicles were delivered to nurses to use instead of using public transportation or other means to get to work. The move is to help reduce their exposure risk to the coronavirus.

    Fox Valley Volkswagen salesman Leonard Sfondouris, center, speaks with Talia Berman, a nurse at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, on Friday after 11 loaner vehicles were delivered to nurses to use instead of using public transportation or other means to get to work. The move is to help reduce their exposure risk to the coronavirus. Courtesy of Emir Abinion

 
 
Updated 4/10/2020 7:30 PM

The owner of three suburban car dealerships on Friday delivered free loaner vehicles to 11 nurses at a Chicago children's hospital to use for 30 days so they don't have to rely on public transportation and increase their risk to coronavirus exposure.

"Whether they fight coronavirus or fight pediatric cancer, we're all in this together," said Emir Abinion, owner of Fox Valley Volkswagen locations in St. Charles and Schaumburg and Fox Valley Buick and GMC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Abinion said he was having a staff meeting last week to think of ways to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his daughter, Gabi Abinion, a general manager at Fox Valley Volkswagen, suggested offering loaner vehicles to health care workers.

Emir Abinion said he has 60 loaner vehicles for customers having their vehicles serviced, but the service business is down severely during the stay-at-home order, so his fleet of loaner vehicles is idle.

Abinion worked with Stacey Sutter, co-founder and president of Cal's Angels, a nonprofit that supports families of cancer patients, to find nurses working on the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital's pediatric oncology floor.

Abinion said the nurses had been taking public transportation, walking or riding a bike to work.

"We're going to get through this and we're going to get through this with our first responders leading the way," he said. "They're serving some really fragile patients -- kids going through cancer and their immune systems are compromised."

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Each loaner vehicle was sanitized and had a full tank of gas and a monthly insurance card provided by the dealership, Abinion said.

"Our employees are so pumped to be able to do this," he said. "We will help where ever we can."

Abinion said he has requests to deliver 15 more vehicles next week and hopes other suburban car dealerships also will offer free loaner vehicles to health care workers in need.

For information or to request a loaner, email emir@foxvalleyvw.com.

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