It is a very special Mother’s Day weekend for Shereka Ray from Jonesboro, AR who now has a brand new car. “This is all about a single mom,” RNR Tire Express owner David Harrison announced at the store Friday. “And we took letters from all over our region and we selected one mother that had a very special story.” Harrison decided to start a yearly tradition of giving a car away each Mother’s Day. “It’s a blessing to be able to do that and really, this comes from another experience with my mom,” he said. Harrison’s mother Virginia raised him and his three siblings as a single mom after her husband left. Virginia was also raised by a single mother. She made sacrifices so her kids always had what they needed. “Our house was falling apart, and my mother drove whatever she could afford,” Harrison said. “A lot of times that wasn’t much. But shealways made sure that we had good things. You know, when we went to school we looked like other kids.” One day while in his 20s, Harrison was able to pay his mom back by buying her a car. Because of his mom’s humble and giving spirit, he decided to do it again in her honor. “I thought wouldn’t it be great to give that experience to another single mom,” Harrison said. Out of the thousands of entries that poured in, the panel of judges made the unanimous decision that Shereka Ray, the mother of a 9-year-old girl, was the deserving woman. She was almost speechless after the surprise Friday. “I’m just so thankful,” Ray said. “This is just… I just don’t know. This is amazing. This is really amazing.” For her hard work, RNR Tire Express gave Ray a 2016 Buick Encore. The business will also pay the sales tax and licensing fees. Yokohama also donated a new set of tires to Ray for when the first set is worn out. And she was given a $500 gas gift card. Don Blackmore with Central Baptist Church is who nominated Ray for the prize. “I thought we have so many worthy and deserving single moms in our church but for some reason Shereka just kind of popped in my head,” Blackmore said. “She’s overcome so much adversity, she’s a hardworking mom, and she’s a good mom. She serves our country. She’s in the military on reserve for the National Guard.” Ray also works with women at Central Baptist Church who are struggling with similar past experiences. “I never really thought that something in my past could actually help someone, so I’m just very thankful for that” Ray said. She hopes not worrying about paying for a car will allow her to continue spreading God’s word. “One of the biggest things I wanted to start doing last year was missions, and I couldn’t figure out how in the world am I going to fund that,” Ray said. “Well, now I have no excuse!” (Re-posted from Jonesboro, AR Region 8 News.) Here is Shereka’s story. Shereka Ray is a young woman whose life story is one of determination and perseverance. Life has not been an easy path for Ms. Ray, yet through all the difficulties she has experienced in her twenty-six years, she approaches life with a positive attitude and a heartfelt desire to serve others. Shereka grew up in Palestine, Arkansas where she completed high school in 2007. Ranked second in her graduating class, she was involved in numerous clubs, activities, and positions of leadership. Although Shereka excelled in high school in both academics and extra-curricular activities, she carried a large burden of which no one was aware. As a child Shereka had been sexually abused by a family member. The repercussions of this experience were difficult for Shereka and she consequently struggled to form and maintain healthy relationships. In addition to this, Shereka spent her childhood and teen years viewing herself as someone having no worth and dealing with a crippling amount of guilt. Upon high school graduation Shereka joined the Army National Guard and began college at Arkansas State University. Becoming a nurse had long been Shereka’s ultimate goal, and now she was deeply committed to achieving this dream. At the end of her first semester, however, Shereka discovered she was pregnant. Unfortunately, the father of her child was physically abusive and Shereka soon found herself faced with the prospect of raising a child alone. Aubrey was born prematurely on January 13, 2007 and Shereka’s life was forever changed. Due to her prematurity, Aubrey was delivered at UAMS where she then spent almost three months in the NICU. As a single mom Shereka faced the immediate health concerns that come with a premature child, as well as the long term repercussions of such a birth. Once Aubrey was released from the hospital Shereka decided to put her dream of a college degree on hold in order to take complete responsibility for raising her child. As Aubrey grew and began to attend school, Shereka went back to college during the day and would then work at night to support both herself and her daughter. In addition to this, Shereka was still actively involved in the Army National Guard. Serving with the 39th Brigadier Support Battalion she spent one weekend per month and three weeks during the summer at drill in addition to attending college, a full time job, and raising young Aubrey. Today, Aubrey is nine years old and Shereka has achieved her dream of becoming a nurse. She currently works at the St. Bernards GI Clinic where she has been employed for the past five years. Having achieved her first goal Shereka now hopes to return to college, continue her education, and obtain another degree and RN designation. To answer the question as to why Shereka deserves this recognition, the answer is that she has spent her life serving others both selflessly and with humility. Her story is certainly one of overcoming obstacles and perseverance. She has currently served in the National Guard for eleven years and plans to remain for at least ten more. Shereka has such a shining and positive personality. She says that her life consists of serving the Lord, raising her daughter, and serving others. Shereka Ray is also a facilitator for Central Baptist Church’s “Mending the Soul” ministry which assists victims of physical and sexual abuse in their recovery. She also volunteers at Arkansas’ McPherson Prison where she ministers to ladies whose life circumstances often involve abuse and despair. Shereka is a single mom who has made the best of her circumstances, ministers to others with a kind and loving spirit, and serves as an example to others. Her commitment to her daughter and those she ministers to are the primary reasons we desire that she receive this honor. Her servant heart, as well as her continual desire to use her story to help others, are such amazing representations of the blessing that Shereka’s life has become. We pray that through an opportunity such as this one, she would be able to spread that light even further and expand upon the work of blessing others that she has already begun.