As part of their 2022 Turbo Boost Car Giveaway, Nadine and Jimmy Alauria of 3A Automotive & Diesel surprised community member Nate Catlin with a mechanically restored Toyota Avalon (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

In December, Sunnyslope’s 3A Automotive & Diesel put out a call for nominations — they were looking for “someone who works hard, helps others and could really use a boost of a more reliable car.” The nominations were for the company’s 2022 Turbo Boost Car Giveaway, and the nominated resident would receive a mechanically restored Toyota Avalon.

This isn’t the first time that 3A has given back to the community in this way. The family-owned and operated business, which was established in Sunnyslope in 1975 by “Big Jim” Alauria, began the car giveaway about eight years ago. In 2018, the company wanted a new way to help support their community.

“In 2018, we asked for a different type of nomination; [someone] who not only needs a car (or more reliable car), but someone who also works hard, helps others and could use the boost of a more reliable vehicle to help them further the good they do in their community,” said Nadine Alauria prior to the event. She and her husband, Jimmy, represent the second generation of 3A ownership.

After a couple of timing delays, the business was finally able to make the surprise announcement on Jan. 5, joined by dozens of community members, including District 3 Councilwoman Debra Stark, Washington Elementary School District representatives, including superintendent Dr. Paul Stanton, a host of Phoenix Police officers, local neighborhood group representatives, 3A employees and friends, family and coworkers of the winner.

The company kicked off the community event with grilled burgers at 11 a.m. At noon, it was time to announce the winner, and Jimmy provided some background on the process.

“One of the things that’s amazing about this process is you hear some really amazing stories about great people; you hear some heart wrenching stories about people who are really struggling. You know cars are, let’s face it, they’re expensive… we know that this is something that can really help somebody that’s in need,” he said.

Nadine then told the crowd that the winner had been nominated by several people and called by one co-worker, “one of the hardest working people she’s ever met.”

“We were just really moved by their work ethic and several of the people who nominated him said that he was very caring, kind and obviously very passionate about their profession and we were very moved by that,” Nadine added.

With that, the business owners announced Nate Catlin, a paraprofessional at Mountain View School, as the winner of the 2022 giveaway. The surprise and delight on the face of Catlin was heartwarming, as was the excitement of his family and co-workers. His mom and sister work at the same school and were able to help coordinate the surprise.

Catlin has worked at the Sunnyslope school since graduating from high school five years ago, “a feat in itself these days in many professions, but especially in the teaching profession with everything teachers have dealt with these past few years with COVID,” Nadine told us prior to the announcement.

“Nate is a stellar individual who works hard and takes pride in his profession and helping his students,” she said. “He doesn’t miss work, even though he relies on family and friends to give him a ride to and from work.  He often has to stay much later after school to get a ride home.”

For his part, Catlin was a little overwhelmed by the moment, “I’m not really sure what to say. I really appreciate it…it’s really hard to believe. Thank you, I’m going to drive this as soon as possible!”

At that point, the 3A manager brought out the keys and Catlin, all smiles, got behind the wheel and started his new car for the first time.


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