The power of kindness: Salem community goes above and beyond to help active duty service member in need

Submitted photo
Dwayne Gill, left, and his son Tyler.

One of the best compliments that a visitor can give a city is to praise its hospitality. The Salem community recently took “southern hospitality” to another level. Despite it happening in the spring, Tyler Gill remembers the kind gesture like it was yesterday.

Gill, an active member in the Navy, was in route to his first duty station when he started having transmission issues with his car on the interstate near Salem. The first thing he did was call his father, Dwayne, a Navy Veteran.

“The most important thing was to get him and the car off the road. I had AAA, so I gave them a call only to find out they only tow three miles under my coverage. So, we started searching for local tow companies instead,” said Dwayne. “I was recommended to BNB Transmission in Salem, and they towed my son’s car in no time. They had a week’s worth of work in front of them, but after Tyler explained his situation, they decided to make him a priority.”

As all of this was happening, Dwayne was looking at local hotels and car rentals. He also couldn’t help but think of how much the bill was going to be. Dwayne thought the final cost would surpass $3,000. He was ecstatic to discover that wasn’t the case.

Roughly two hours after the car arrived at the shop, the mechanic was able to get it on the rack and look at it. He then told Tyler there was a chance that he could be on the road that day. “We were still unsure, so we had to wait and see if the repair worked. We said a few prayers. An hour later, we had a car repaired for under $200. We were honestly expecting it to be in the thousands,” Dwayne said.

Tyler and his father have always had a great relationship. Said Dwayne, ”He is the last of the four children. Typical of us Gills, we are sort of like the Louis Lamour’s Sacketts in that we have a rich family tradition of learning from the prestigious School of Hard Knocks.”

There isn’t a week that goes by that Dwayne doesn’t think of the generous gesture done for his son.

“Two things struck me that day. One, we could have easily been taken advantage of.  And two, somebody was willing to change their schedule to help us. We were not made to beg,” Dwayne said. “The community wanted to help, and they went out of their way to do just that. This is what America has always been about, and I am glad to have met some of my fellow Americans in Salem. I will never forget what Salem did for my son.”

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