After Johanna and Daryl Ferguson Jr. were killed earlier this year in a car crash near Groesbeck, the couple’s four children went to live with Daryl’s mother, Judy, who had just lost her own husband to cancer six months prior.
While Judy Ferguson, a nurse in Limestone County, did have one car she had shared with her late husband, the vehicle wouldn’t fit all four children at once. And with 17-year-old Bryston being of driving age and staying busy as an incoming senior at Groesbeck High School, one more vehicle for the family would have meant a lot.
Enter Caldwell Country Chevrolet.
On Friday afternoon, the dealership gave the family a new vehicle, free of charge.
Judy Ferguson sat in the office of Zach Hester, general manager of Caldwell Country Chevrolet, to sign the paperwork on a pre-owned white Ford Expedition. Then she led her four grandchildren — Bryston; Cam, 15; Kovan, 13; and Jaylee, 7 — to the vehicle parked just outside the business’ front doors, a large red bow resting atop the hood. The grandchildren took turns sitting in the driver’s seat and climbing through the vehicle that soon will take them to school, on errands and to baseball practice.
Hester was first made aware of Judy Ferguson’s situation through a series of local connections. Hester’s friends were acquainted with College Station ISD elementary schoolteacher Jessica McMurray, an older sister to the late Johanna Ferguson.
“I just messaged my friends, asking if they had any leads on a used car,” McMurray said. “My husband and I wanted to purchase [Judy and the kids] a car because they needed one. My friends said their friend [Hester] would be able to help, and he contacted me.”
Though the Fergusons don’t have an immediate connection to the town of Caldwell, Hester said the staff at the Chevrolet dealership were touched by their story. Initially, they had planned to sell the Fergusons a vehicle within a budget set by Judy, who was looking to obtain a vehicle through purchase.
“We tried to figure out exactly what was needed, and obviously with four kids they’d need a big vehicle, especially with one child at driving age and the other three not,” Hester said. “We figured out a budget and found out what Judy liked, talked about it and as a company we decided the right thing would be to just give it to them. I can’t imagine going through what they did. ... Our owner has just instilled a culture here of giving back, and thinking about this more and more, we figured out a way to give this to them.”
Bryston, who is on the Groesbeck baseball team and plans to attend Texas A&M next year, expressed his appreciation for the generosity shown to the family, as well as for everything his grandmother has done for him and his siblings.
“She has been wonderful,” he said. “She stepped up and has been both the parents we need her to be. She’s doing the financial stuff and holding it together for us.”