Oregon Honda Dealership Helps the Widow of a Fallen Police Officer

Just the Facts:
  • Town & Country Honda in Gladstone, Oregon, bought Wendy Libke's car lease after the killing of her police officer husband, Robert.
  • Libke hadn't bought the car from Town & Country, and the dealership knew it would take a significant loss when it sold the car.
  • Word of the quiet good deed spread via the Oregon City Police Department's Facebook page.

GLADSTONE, Oregon — In November 2013, Oregon City reserve police officer Robert Libke was killed in the line of duty. Libke was survived by his wife, Wendy, and their soon-to-be-born daughter, Ziva.

As is the case with many families, the Libkes had two cars and two payments. He had driven a truck, while she drove a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta leased from a local dealership. After her husband's death, Wendy Libke was left with both the truck and the car — and their payments.

Because of a strong emotional attachment to her husband's truck, that's the vehicle Wendy Libke wanted to keep. In an effort to reduce her monthly costs, she decided she'd try to get rid of the Jetta.

She went to the dealership from which she leased the car and explained the situation, hoping the dealership would be willing to help her get out of the lease. The dealership wouldn't buy out the car, which would have ended the lease, because the amount owed on the lease exceeded the Jetta's value. The dealership said she should take up her concern with the bank: It was between Libke and the lender at that point.

Oregon City Police Chief Jim Band also went to the dealership on Wendy Libke's behalf, but to no avail.

Word of Libke's situation reached Ralph Martinez, owner of Town & Country Honda in Gladstone. She hadn't bought the Jetta there — nor had her husband bought his truck at the dealership. But that didn't matter to Town & Country Honda.

"She's been through a tragedy," Martinez told Edmunds. "It's not just the first responders that put their necks on the line for us. Their families deserve just as much credit and respect. We wanted to help, so we bought her out of her lease."

Word of the good deed spread when police chief Band posted a thank-you to the dealership on the OCPD's Facebook page.

"I want to give a public thank you to Town and Country Gladstone Honda for going out of their way to help Wendy Libke with something they had absolutely no benefit from doing," Band wrote.

This wasn't the first time a Martinez-owned dealership has gone out of its way to help first responders and their families. The dealership raised more than $50,000 and donated it to the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Town & Country won't make up the money it paid the bank to get Wendy Libke out of her VW lease. Because of the high amount the dealership paid for the Jetta, it will take a loss when the car is eventually sold. But Martinez isn't worried.

"We've lost money on cars before," he said. "It's for a great reason. We want to do what we can."

Edmunds says: All car dealerships are in business to make money. But sometimes, people take priority over profit.

Edmunds news

See all car news