Tim Hovik of Ahwatukee, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert

Tim Hovik of Ahwatukee, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, hands the keys to a new mini-SUV to Gilbert Officer Vickie Faber.

Emotions ran high May 19 as the keys to a new Bronco Sport were passed from the hands of San Tan Ford owner and Ahwatukee resident Tim Hovik to a Gilbert policewoman who won a nonprofit’s fundraiser-raffle.

Officer Vickie Faber wept with joy and gratitude as she took ownership of the mini-SUV that she won in the House of Refuge raffle.

The House of Refuge, a Mesa-based nonprofit that helps homeless families, had to cancel its annual fundraiser gala because of the pandemic.

A renown supporter of charities throughout the region, Hovik wanted to do something big to help the House of Refuge recoup some of the funds it lost because of the cancelation. 

Hovik partnered with House of Refuge CEO Kayla Kolar, to organize the raffle.

“We thought, how great would it be to do a raffle, and how amazing would it be to raffle a new car,” Kolar said, “We called Tim and he responded, ‘How could I say no?’” 

When Hovik first heard the offer to work together he thought, “Maybe we ought to really get crazy. Maybe we should raffle the best-selling vehicle in America, the all-new Bronco Sport.”

Tickets were $100 and by the conclusion of the drive, House of Refuge raised $70,000 to put towards providing homes, support services, clothing and food boxes to families experiencing homelessness. 

“So many charities have struggled this year, and other than virtual events, there are no fundraisers. But the needs don’t go away,” Hovik said. 

Making the event more special was the pure coincidence of a 20-year veteran of the Gilbert Police Department winning the raffle at the same site where one of her colleagues was seriously injured and a Chandler officer slain during a violent confrontation April 30 with a truck thief.

The entire community grieved the loss of Chandler Officer Christopher Farrar and prayed for severely injured Gilbert Officer Rico Aranda. 

Faber said she entered the raffle because she simply wanted to support the House of Refuge, conscious of the June 30 end to the federally imposed eviction moratorium and the prospect that more people in the Valley will face unstable housing situations. 

“$100 on a raffle ticket is a lot for me to spend, but it was a great way to give back,” Faber said. 

When the organization called her initially, Faber was unable to pick up the call and so a message was left on her voice mail informing her she had won. 

When she picked up, “All I could do was cry, I couldn’t talk anymore,” Faber said. 

“It was like being struck by lightning. I don’t even win my own office raffles, I just wanted to give money to a good cause,” she explained. 

Both Hovik and Kolar were pleased over the winner, expressing similar sentiments that few were more deserving of winning – especially since Faber has never owned a new car in her life. 

“Miracles do happen, and after the obvious sadness weeks ago, I’m so pleased to gather in a time of joy and celebrate with the community,” Hovik said.

Faber was all smiles.

After getting behind the wheel of her new vehicle for the first time, she playfully asked the crowd, “Who wants a ride?”

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