Stranded Air Force NCO finds new friends in Price
When Rowan Coash's car broke down in Spanish Fork Canyon 34 miles from Price, it seemed like any other regular occurrence along U.S. 6 - an unfortunate experience along one of the country's most dangerous sections of highway.
"The engine just kind of shut down on me," said Coash during a phone interview on Wednesday.
Left stranded in an unfamiliar place with little cell phone reception and needing to reach his final destination in Texas a few days later, Coash, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, needed some assistance.
Thanks to a close friend and the power of social media, Coash got more help than he could ever have asked for.
Coash, 27, was on a long trip from Vancouver, Wash., to San Antonio, Texas where he was reporting for duty with the Air Force. After his 2005 Toyota Corolla broke down, Coash, along with his Husky named Roxy, was able to get the car towed into Price. It was taken to a local repair shop but the car was not immediately able to be fixed. With the possibility of hundreds of dollars in repairs and the cost to put the car into storage, things were looking down.
But after contacting some friends and family, the power of social media took over.
Erica Krochmalny, a close friend of Coash, immediately sent out a message on Facebook searching for help in the area. Within just two hours, Coash was able to get the necessary help.
"I put the post on Facebook and it just spread like wildfire from there," said Krochmalny.
Rob and Leslie Holmes, a Price couple who have a large garage at their home along 300 South, offered to help store the car for as long as needed. The couple said they were "more than happy to help" out someone in need, especially someone who serves in the armed forces.
"It was just a really random thing that came about," said Leslie Holmes. "Rowan is a really nice guy and it was neat to be able to help him out in a tough situation like that."
Rowan stayed the night at the National 9 Inn on Wednesday night and was able to rent a car the following day as he continued his trip heading to Albuquerque on Thursday night before arriving in San Antonio on Friday afternoon.
"That was his primary objective to make sure he was able to get to San Antonio on time so he wouldn't be late to report for duty," said Krochmalny.
More offers of help continued to pour in over the next few days. Randy Misner, a Price resident, also heard about Rowan's predicament on Facebook. Misner, who previously served in the U.S. Army, said he felt compelled to help out a fellow serviceman in need.
After posting the information on the timelines of local groups, the information soon made its way to employees who work at Tony Basso GM and they offered help in towing the car to their shop to perform a diagnostic test on the car for free.
"It's been a huge load off my mind knowing that people have offered to help out," said Coash.
On Tuesday evening, the Holmes' and Misner watched as the car was loaded up on a tow truck and hauled away to the shop. It was a moment of satisfaction that put a smile on each of their faces.
Despite not knowing anything about Coash prior to last week, the group said they were happy to play a role in watching a community come together to help out someone in a time of need.
"It feels really good to be a part of this with a community coming together to help out a stranger in need," said Misner. "It's the kind of story that we don't get to hear too much about."
Krochmalny said once it's known if the car can be fixed, the next step will be to figure out how to get the car back to Coash in Texas. But that has taken a back seat to the overwhelming show of support she said the local community has given.
"Rowan and his family have just been blown away by the response from the community to this situation," said Krochmalny. "All of us were strangers when this first happened but everyone came together to help him out. That is what makes this so amazing to see."
Despite the car breaking down, Coash said it was a trip and an experience he will not soon forget.
"An unfortunate event occurred but it was amazing to see what can be accomplished in such as short amount of time," said Coash. "There's too many people to thank and I wouldn't know where to begin. The help, the friendliness and the kindness of strangers was amazing."