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Family’s tragic miscommunication turns into a blessing

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Family’s tragic miscommunication turns into a blessing

Justin Marson and daughter Sara Corrinne with Phil Waterford.

Photo contributed/


POSTED August 24, 2012 10:24 p.m.

Recently, Phil Waterford’s Manteca Ford hosted a Community Charity Sales Event for a little girl named Sara Corinne.

When she was 9 months old Sara Corinne fell asleep in the family van while  returning home from a family funeral. Both parents believed that Sara Corinne had been taken out of the car and placed in her crib. This tragic miscommunication resulted in Sara Corinne being left in a hot car in the middle of August. When the mistake was discovered, Sara Corinne was barely clinging to life.

On average, 38 children each year suffer heat-related deaths after being left in a car in the summer heat. During a five-day period this month alone, eight children died after being left in hot cars.

Phil Waterford believes that there are no chance encounters. He was introduced to Justin Marson by his son Eric, who had retained Marson’s video editing services for a highlight DVD of Eric’s collegiate basketball career. Phil recalls asking his son who did the amazing job on his video. Eric gave his father Justin’s phone number and they discussed retaining his services for commercials for the Ford dealership.

Phil remembers asking Justin why he’s not working in bigger markets, considering his skills. Justin told Phil of his life-changing experience. Phil proceeded to ask if anyone has ever made a recovery from such a tragic misfortune. Justin told Phil about a facility in Canada that has a relatively high success rate with patients that have similar conditions, especially children. Phil’s next question to Justin was, “What are you guys still doing here?” Justin explained that they just did not have the financial resources to cover the cost of the treatment or travel expenses. He still has a mortgage that’s due every month, along with four children and a wife to take care of.

Phil quickly gathered his thoughts and decided to host a Community Charity Sales Event to educate the community, raise awareness, and raise money to help cover the expenses in the recovery of this precious young life. During the first two weeks of August, Waterford made a commitment to donate $200 to help make the LIFE Program Treatment possible for Sara Corinne. The dealership raised an additional $8,160 to go towards the $14,000 treatment.

But the blessings didn’t stop there! Waterford invited the Marson family to attend St. Matthew’s Baptist Church in Livermore. Waterford said, “My primary objective was to introduce little Sara Corinne to Dr. Alan Turner, who is the Senior Pastor at St. Matthew’s Baptist Church. Initially, Justin was reluctant to attend the church due to prior obligations; however, I insisted that he attend as this could be a life changing event for the family.”

Waterford was overwhelmed by the compassion exhibited by Pastor Alan Turner upon learning of the Marson family’s misfortune. After listening to the parents share the story, Dr. Turner was compelled to help this family obtain the treatment that Sara Corinne so desperately needed. Immediately, Dr. Turner issued a check in the amount of $6,000 to the Marson family to provide them the financial assistance they needed. The Marson family was brought to tears by the generosity of Pastor Turner. The money raised through our community, Manteca Ford and St. Matthew’s church exceeded the $14,000 required for the treatment and travel expenses for the LIFE treatment program in Canada.

Prior to Sara Corinne’s trip, which is tentatively scheduled in October, Waterford would like to invite the Marsons, who are a part of the leadership team at Cornerstone Community Church in Manteca, and the rest of the community to visit The Place of Refuge Church in Manteca as he asks Pastor Mike Dillman to lead everyone in prayer. Waterford is excited that everyone who is aware of this story will have an opportunity to witness through the grace of God, Sara Corinne’s amazing journey to recovery. “When I pray, I ask God to give me ideas NOT so that I can be blessed, but that I can become a blessing to SOMEONE else!”

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