UALR student wins car, donates it to friend

Veteran Villages of America donated a car to Destinie Boren, the daughter of National Guard member Bruce Boren of Dover, Arkansas. Pictured, from left to right, are Kathy Oliverio, UALR director of military success, Mark Diggs, Chancellor Andrew Rogerson, Destinie Boren, Mike Ross, chairman of the board of directors of Veteran Villages of America and Bill Asti.

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock student received a car from a veterans’ nonprofit organization and paid the generosity forward by giving the car to a friend in need. 

Destinie Boren, a junior who is double majoring in studio arts and criminal justice, won the car from Veterans Villages of America, a nonprofit organization working for the economic well being and quality of life of veterans. One of the organization’s initiatives is giving away donated cars to students who are veterans or family members of veterans.

Boren is the daughter of National Guard member Bruce Boren of Dover, Arkansas. He has served in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, and will deploy to Africa in 2017.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson selected Boren to receive the car during a drawing after the grand opening of the Arkansas State Veterans Home in North Little Rock. Students who are members of the UALR Students Affected by the Military group entered their names at the Veteran Villages of America website.

“I got an email saying Asa Hutchinson pulled my name in the drawing to receive a car,” Boren said. “I was very excited to say Asa Hutchinson touched something with my name on it.”

Mike Ross, chairman of the board of directors of Veterans Villages of America, presented the 2004 Buick LaSabre to Boren on Dec. 1 at a ceremony near the UALR Student Services Center. A World War II veteran donated the car. 

Thomas Savon and Destinie Boren
Savon Thomas and Destinie Boren

“We want to invest in our student veterans,” Ross said. “They are going to be our future leaders.”

Already having a working vehicle, Boren decided to give the car to a friend, Savon Thomas, a sophomore biology major, whose mother’s car broke down two months ago.

“I’m giving the car to Savon and his family, because everyone needs a little help at times,” said Boren, who is moving to Florida in January for an internship at Disney World. “I would rather give the car away than have it sitting there not being used.”

Thomas is grateful for his friend’s generosity.

“I’ve never been given a car before. This is like something you hear about in movies,” said Thomas, who plans to become a pediatrician. “This is a God-sent blessing. There is no way I can thank Destinie enough.”

In the upper right photo, Veteran Villages of America donated a car to Destinie Boren, the daughter of National Guard member Bruce Boren of Dover, Arkansas. Pictured, from left to right, are Kathy Oliverio, UALR director of military student success, Mark Diggs, Chancellor Andrew Rogerson, Destinie Boren, Mike Ross, chairman of the board of directors of Veterans Villages of America, and Bill Asti.

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