Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville woman's friends raise money to get her new van

Dixie Carley, 68, of Brooksville is raising money to buy a new van and continue to provide transportation to members of her church.

Courtesy of Joyce Chiavroli

Dixie Carley, 68, of Brooksville is raising money to buy a new van and continue to provide transportation to members of her church.

BROOKSVILLE — Even in retirement, Dixie Carley, a 24-year veteran of over-the-road trucking, puts her driving skills to good use. She carts less independent friends and neighbors to church services and functions, to doctor appointments, to the grocery store.

Until about a month ago, that is.

That's when Carley's 1991 Toyota van, with 275,000 miles, "expired," said the 68-year-old on disability.

With a blown head gasket and in need of other repairs, Carley's trusty transport had just one destination left, her neighborhood mechanic told her. She called a junkyard, which hauled away the seven-passenger van she had purchased used in 2003.

Carley hasn't been to the grocery store since. She can walk, if necessary, "about 25 minutes if I take a shortcut." Her "church family" has provided transportation to and from three weekly services she attends at First Baptist Church of Brooksville.

What concerns Carley most is leaving in the lurch the older women who have depended on her generous offers of rides. The passengers have included two regulars who live in an assisted living facility.

Carley saw the van and her charity work as a calling from God.

Debilitated by spinal curvature and forced to walk with a cane, Carley said, "There's a long story behind how I got this van. God gave me that van nine years ago, and I felt that's what God wanted me to do — to drive people around. The Lord blessed me with that van; he wanted me to help others, so that's what I did."

Now, other friends are coming to the aid of the widow, who lives on a fixed income in subsidized housing. Friends have launched a drive to raise $4,000 to buy a replacement vehicle for Carley.

Church member Todd M. Harris, a computer specialist, set up a Web page — — that details Carley's need and provides a way to donate to the cause. Friend Joyce Chiavroli is managing the campaign, which so far has tallied donations of $655 by 12 people. She can be contacted at (352) 754-8681.

Carley said the $4,000 figure is "a wild guess." She would prefer a 2000 or 2001 Toyota, rather than a newer vehicle, because she calculates she can afford insurance for it. Her mechanic and men from her church are looking for a suitable buy.

Said Carley: "Any help you can give would be a great blessing, not only for me, but for others that I might help."

Beth Gray can be contacted at

Brooksville woman's friends raise money to get her new van 11/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 9, 2012 7:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort


    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  2. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma


    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us


    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Facebook to release Russia ads to Congress amid pressure

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators.