Small Utah town unites through social media to help stranded airman

Air Force Staff Sergeant Rowan Coash's path
Air Force Staff Sergeant Rowan Coash's path

PRICE, UT (KSTU/CNN) – A U.S. Airman on his way to report for duty found himself stranded in a Utah town he’d never heard of after his car broke down.

But something unexpected happened, all thanks to social media.

“My car stopped working. It was almost like someone had nearly pulled the keys out of the ignition…” Staff Sergeant Rowan Coash said.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Rowan Coash was making the long drive alone from Vancouver, Washington to San Antonio, Texas to report for duty.

But when his 2005 Toyota Corolla broke down on Highway 6 West of Price, Utah he found himself stranded in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from his destination.

While Staff Sgt. Coash waited for a tow truck he called his friend Erica in Washington.

Erica turned to social media, posting on her timeline: “Anybody out there in Facebook Land near Price, UT and willing to help a soldier?”

Staff Sgt. Coash’s car was towed to price and a mechanic looked at his car

“The options they were giving me at the time was anywhere between 6-10 days to get the car fixed and a whole lot of money that I didn’t have at the time,” Staff Sgt. Coash said

On top of that, if Staff Sgt. Coash didn’t make it to Texas in two days he would be considered AWOL.

Little did he know Erica’s Facebook post was being shared by hundreds of people.

“And I was checking Facebook just on my phone and I saw that there was a soldier who was stranded in Price,” resident Leslie Holmes said.

Holmes agreed to store the car at her home until Staff Sgt. Coash could figure out how he could afford to get it fixed.

He managed to get a rental truck and left his car ‘Suzie’ behind.

But the Facebook post continued to spread online.

A Price veteran posted on his timeline: “Does anyone know a good mechanic that would be willing to do a solid for an American hero?”

“When I seen a fellow service member in need, I just kinda felt it was my duty to help him out, you know? He’s like family to me. He’s like a brother, you know?” Randy Misner, veteran and Price resident said.

Within hours over 100 people had responded.

An employee at a local car dealership saw the post and volunteered to take a look at the car.

“We saw it needed a motor and once we saw we needed a motor the whole team jumped in,” Tony Basso who owns Tony Basso GM said.

The car’s motor was rebuilt, reaching $3500 in repairs — but no charge to the airman.

“I think it’s time that we as a nation serve those who protect us,” Basso said.

Now a few weeks later and thanks to the Price community and a good mechanic, Suzie is up and running and ready for Coash.

“It was absolutely amazing. The overwhelming support that I got I really don’t know how to put it into words,” Staff Sgt. Coash said.

Thanks to the people of Price, Staff Sgt. Coash reported on time in Texas.

His car is also on its way… being shipped, free of charge.

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