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Michael Sawyer, winner of the 2023 United Way car giveaway, is flanked by Chris Lackey of Asheboro AutoMall and Elizabeth Mitchell of the United Way of Randolph County.    Larry Penkava/Randolph Hub

Good things come to those who wait

ASHEBORO — Fate must have been smiling on Michael Sawyer when he picked the key to unlock the 2023 Nissan Versa at the United Way’s 2023 car giveaway on Dec. 21.


“I had a dream,” he said after winning the 2023 Nissan Versa. “I had to go last.” 


In this case, last was first. Sawyer waited patiently as the nine other finalists each took their turn, inserting their key with no result. He stepped forward as everyone anticipated success. He placed the key in the lock, turned it to the right and the door opened.


“I’ve been praying to the good Lord,” said a delighted Sawyer. “He always gives me what I need, not what I want.”


He said his daughter’s vehicle had broken down so he gave her his good car to drive. Then his older vehicle broke down that morning, leaving him wondering what to do — well, except to pray.


“This is the first new car I’ve ever owned,” Sawyer said. “This is the best.”


An Asheboro resident, he works at Graphics Packaging in Randleman. He moved here from El Paso, Texas, as a young man because of what he believed was a calling. Then he met his wife here and they’ve been together for 43 years.


Elizabeth Mitchell, executive director of the United Way of Randolph County, reminded those gathered for the giveaway at Asheboro AutoMall that the Lackeys have been providing cars to UW donors for 17 years. Finalists are chosen from those who give at least $100 for the year to the organization.


“We’re thankful for everybody who gives to United Way,” she said. 


Chris Lackey, owner of the AutoMall and son of Dan Lackey who founded the company, said, “I can’t believe this is year 17 of doing this. I’m proud of our team at all three dealerships. Thank you for supporting United Way, which provides valuable services.”


Lackey then introduced his daughters, Juliana, 7, and Brielle, 5, who passed around the box of keys for the finalists to draw from. He added a new detail to the giveaway — the dealership would take care of any sales taxes due.


The other finalists were:

— Jeremiah Batchelor of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.

— Jamey Simmons of Asheboro City Facilities and Maintenance.

— Kathy Auman of Technimark.

— Ann Evans of Guy B. Teachey Elementary School.

— Steve Williams of Insurance Associates of the Triad.

— Diana Gill of the Timken Company.

— Jacinda Sergent of Oliver Rubber.

— Emily Caravello of Sapona Yarns.

— Alesia Lambeth of Technimark.