Grant for car helps widowed father of two commute from Oak Creek

Jessie Partlow stands in front of the 2001 Subaru Forester he received because of a grant from the WZ Giving Circle awarded to the Fatherhood Program of Routt County.

— Things haven’t been easy lately for Jesse Partlow, an Oak Creek man who had run-ins with law enforcement and lost his wife to ongoing health issues last August.

He suddenly found himself a single father of two, relying on help from his mother-in-law to raise his sons Zach, 13, and Daniel, 12.

WZ Giving Circle

The WZ Giving Circle meets twice annually to collectively grant money to local organizations on behalf of families and individuals in need.

The group most recently met March 28, granting $24,925 to eight organizations, including Northwest Colorado Health, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, Northwest Colorado Center for Independence, Horizons Specialized Services, Integrated Community, Book Trails and the Yampa Valley Autism Program.

To learn more about the WZ Giving Circle, visit yvcf.org/wz-giving-circle.

Things got worse when he hit a rock in his newly bought used car, destroying the oil pan and then damaging the motor, leaving him with no way to commute to his road construction job, currently in Glenwood Springs.

But things started looking up when Partlow’s family therapist referred him to the Fatherhood Program of Routt County.

“They said they could apply for grants to help me fix my car,” Partlow said.

The organization worked with the Northwest Colorado Center for Independence to apply for a grant on behalf of Partlow to the WZ Giving Circle, a group of Routt County couples who collectively pool their own donations twice annually and grant money to local organization on behalf of residents in need.

The group gave nearly $25,000 to eight local organizations in late March as part of their latest grant cycle.

Among the donations was $2,000 to the Fatherhood Program to purchase another used car for Partlow, rather than fixing his old vehicle.

WZ Giving Circle member Mike Stoltz said he and his wife were touched by Partlow’s story and opted to help with the search for a used car and donate additional money to ensure the car would be one that was reliable enough for Partlow to regularly commute for work.

“I was really struck with the whole story,” said Stoltz, who found Partlow a 2001 Subaru Forester for about $3,500 and agreed along with his wife to pick up the extra costs. "As a father having raised a couple of kids, the story really meant something to us."

The car was purchased from the Tom Rueter dealership, which reduced the price to under Blue Book value and sold the car as an in-kind donation to bring down the cost.

“I was super excited when I found out,” Partlow said. “I had been really down on my luck.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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