Hail turned a 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer with less than 50,000 miles into a golf ball. State Farm Insurance totaled it.
Then the insurance company donated it to a charitable organization that gave the vehicle to Metropolitan Community College, where students in an automotive program spent a month fixing it up. They replaced the hood, fixed the roof and doors, put on new fenders and painted the car for a fellow Metro student, 22-year-old Elham Abdalla.
Elham had to apply for the National Auto Body Recycled Rides program. She had to get letters of recommendation and prove that if gifted a car, she could afford to insure and maintain it.
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But it was not hard to see why she prevailed. In the five years that Elham has lived in the United States, she has learned English, graduated from high school (Central, 2018), earned a college scholarship (Metro, pre-nursing), gotten a job (Henry Doorly Zoo) and otherwise thrown herself into her dream of becoming a nurse.
She has overcome significant obstacles: Losing her mother to illness in their native Sudan, coming of age in Darfur, a particularly dangerous part of the African country, and coming to the U.S. with nothing but family. When she entered Central High in 2014, the only English words Elham could speak were these: Thank you.
"I couldn't say, 'May I use the bathroom,'" she said, reflecting on how far she's come.
Elham currently lives with her father and two brothers in the Southside Terrace Homes, and she said having a second car will help them all get to school and jobs.
“Without a vehicle in this community,” she said, “it’s really hard.”
Her nearly seven-year-old car had come to Metro with so many dings, “it literally looked like a golf ball,” said Joe Baker, Metro’s auto collision instructor.
Eight Metro automotive students worked on it, and one was so proud that he drove from Lincoln to see Elham get the keys during a special ceremony last week.
Elham was all smiles days later, when I met her. Not having a car in a car-centric city like Omaha during this busy chapter of her life has meant missing meetings and being at the mercy of other people's schedules.
Now, she's got a way to reach her ultimate destination: Getting a good job and doing "my best to help other people."
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Lincoln Pius X's Blake Vodicka gets tackled by Millard South's Tate Hinrichs No.34, and Kohl Herbolsheimer, No. 75 at Buell Stadium.
Third-graders from Nelson Mandela Elementary play with masks during the unveiling of Omar the troll under the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
Courtney Dobson, an intern at First National Bank, is among the first Creighton students taking advantage of a FinTech program.
A broken portrait of Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Gen. David L. Goldfein lies on the flor of the 55th Security Forces Squadron building after flooding in the spring damaged it at Offutt Air Force Base.
Lt. Col. Chris Conover puts on a mask to protect him from the mold in a flood damaged hallway inside the 55th Wing Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base.
Deborah Lowndes has accused a doctor of touching her private body parts while she was unconscious during surgery. Lowndes is seen here with her personal protection dog, Jakoby. She got Jakoby after the incident with the doctor. She said Jakoby helps her to feel safe.
Garrick Tramp of Austin, Texas, shaved his head to show his husker spirit for the Nebraska vs. Colorado football game.
Joe Sova, left, and Terrence O'Donnell cheer on the Nebraska football team during its football game with Colorado.
Husker fan Luke Hood of Littleton, Colorado, sports a corn hat during a football game against Colorado at Folsom Field.
Nebraska pitcher Kyle Perry blows a bubble during the first fall practice at Haymarket Park.
Diana Gleisberg, left, and Jason Meredith take a photograph of themselves in front of the Orpheum Theater during the opening night of the musical "Hamilton."
Tay Diamond and fiancé Bre Diamond fish from the pier at the Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation area.
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth talks with her players during a timeout in a volleyball match with the University of Nebraska Omaha.
UNO's Sami Clarkson reaches for a dig during a match against Creighton. Creighton University played the University of Nebraska Omaha in a volleyball match at Sokol Arena.
Bart Beattie, of Sumner, plays catch with his brother Preston (not pictured) before the start of the Nebraska vs. Northern Illinois football game.
Jim Linafelter of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa and other Husker fans celebrate a third down stop for Nebraska's defense against Northern Illinois during the first quarter.
Nebraska Cornhusker fans move to and from their seat as the sun sets during the game against Northern Illinois.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez greets fans following Nebraska's 44-8 victory over Northern Illinois.
Mist from a near by fountain splashes Alanna Leeder, of La Vista, and her children Bella, 7, Nolan, 10, and Roman, 2, as they explore a walking path at Civic Center Park.
Nebraska's Lexi Sun, back, watches as Lauren Stivrins pancakes her hand on the floor to make a save against Stanford at the Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska's Callie Schwarzenbach, right, goes up for a block against Stanford's Madeleine Gates at the Devaney Sports Center.
Water rushes around road closed signs near Rosewood Road and 145th Street near Honey Creek, Iowa. High water is still a concern in some areas.
An American bald eagle sits in a tree near Crescent, Iowa.
Crews freed a person from a pickup truck near 60th and Harrison Streets after a dump truck tipped onto the pickup, pinning one person inside.
Brandi Smith performing the role of Hannah Moses dances with Dara Hogan playing the role of Zalla Sweetly during the play called Red Summer at The BLUEBARN Theatre. The play is about the Omaha race riots of 1919.
Nebraska's Cam Taylor-Britt intercepts a pass intended for Illinois' Daniel Barker in the first half at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Maurice Washington leaps over Illinois' Jake Hansen on a five-yard run late in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium.
A Spined micrathena spider hangs from a web in the morning sun at Mandan Park.
A mangora orb weaver spider hangs out on a web in the morning sun at Mandan Park.
The Rev. Steven Boes, the president and executive director of Boys Town, grabs a soft drink during an announcement ceremony for the opening of Heartwood Preserve.
Officer Nathan Waller, and horse Orozco alongside officer Jill Schillerberg and horse Zane participated in the 8th Annual Domestic Violence March and Rally.
Event organizer and domestic violence survivor Heather Duhachek-Chase of Omaha is embraced by Stephanie Strong during the 8th Annual Domestic Violence March and Rally.
Nebraska's Yvan Ouedraogo, left, runs through a passing drill during basketball practice at the Hendricks Training Complex.
Annette Wetzel, the executive director of special events & protocol at UNL, photographs Nebraska alumnus Gerry Rehm in front of a College Game Day themed Coca-Cola truck east of Memorial Stadium.
The Westside Warriors take the field through fog and a banner before a high school football game against Creighton Prep at Westside High School.
Nebraska's Cam Mack dunks the ball during Nebraska basketball opening night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Husker men's basketball team joins Rick Ross on stage following the Nebraska basketball opening night scrimmage at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
A Nebraska fan walks along 10th Street as it begins to rain before Nebraska takes on Ohio State.
Drum major, Jacob Coughlin, of the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band tests his flexibility prior to the game against Ohio State at Memorial Stadium.
Gabrielle Union, left, and her husband Dwyane Wade play with their daughter Kaavia James Union Wade before the start of the football game against Ohio State.