Community Comes Together To Support Car Vandalism Victim
WHEELING — A few days after a Wheeling teen’s car was vandalized with racial slurs and damaged in several places, local businesses have chipped in to return the car to its previous condition — and better.
TeVon Minor’s car was vandalized last weekend with racial slurs and other expletives gouged into the paint, along with mirrors and other parts broken, and the were tires slashed. Minor’s mother took to social media to vent her frustration, leading to an outpouring of community support, including from Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration, who was among the businesses which offered to help restore the damaged car.
On Thursday, the car’s paint job was in the process of being repaired at a Panhandle garage, with several parts already having been fixed up. Panhandle Marketing Director Bob Heldreth said several companies, such as Advance Auto Parts and Tri-State Tint & Vinyl, contributed to make the restoration as good as it could get.
“What happened here was completely awful,” Heldreth said. “We knew we had the ability to help, in that we had a paint booth here at Panhandle. We called up the family and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to paint your son’s car,’ and they brought it out.
“We’ve had good outreach — Advance Auto offered us a discount on paint, we ordered two side-view mirrors and a fuel door, those should be here this week. Tri-State Tint & Vinyl offered to tint his windows for free, sort of class up the car a little bit.”
Heldreth said he had met with Minor, and hopes that he’ll enjoy driving his fixed-up car when he returns to West Virginia University in the fall.
“Something like this shouldn’t set him back in life. We hope the car looks great when it’s done, and he can drive it down to WVU whenever he needs to, and he’ll be back on track.”
Local community leader Ron Scott Jr. was present at the garage Thursday, speaking briefly about how the community’s pushback against the racist vandal speaks louder than the initial action.
“I was disheartened at first to realize that someone would do something like that to another person’s property with that kind of malicious intent, but then I had to remember the kind of times we’re living in — things are tense, and this speaks to the kind of frustration, and it’s just unfortunate that this is how they choose to let it out.
“It’s almost like the flip side of everything, in a time where people feel empowered and emboldened to be discriminatory and racist and prejudiced, there’s also communities and individuals to rally in the opposite direction. It’ll make sure that victims in this can get some sort of solace and be secure in knowing that there are others who do not want this to be connected to their city, their state, their environment, their neighborhood. They don’t want it to be anywhere near them, and it forces the people who would do this to creep back and paint themselves into a corner, so they could only be around people who would turn a blind eye to it.”
Scott said he was extremely pleased with the public response to the vandalism and with the community support that the family had received.
“When you’re (online) and see people talk about problems locally and nationally, you see those and think, ‘People aren’t changing. This is what people are really like.’ But then you have actual, tangible things like the donations this young man and his family have received, that let you know that this is what’s real. These are people spending time, money and energy to correct the wrong. All the others are just wasting time typing words. … The tangible benefits will outweigh them every time.”
“I feel like Wheeling always leads the state in setting a good example, and we couldn’t let this go by without making it right,” Heldreth added.
Wheeling Police are currently investigating the vandalism case.