MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) - Even the strongest among us can sometimes use a helping hand.

For one great-grandmother help has come in an overwhelming gift. It's a story of three women; a great-grandmother, an auto-shop owner and someone you know as just “Rosie.”

Someone's always watching over Doctor Boltz Automotive Clinic in Murfreesboro. She can be seen in the back wall with an arm flexed. It's a poster of Rosie the Riveter, an iconic image paired with the phrase “We Can Do It!”

"Rosie the Riveter, she was a woman of strength," said shop owner Danielle Sapienza. "She was a woman of strength in World War II. The history is that the woman had to go to work while the men went to war.”

"The fact I'm female, I'm doing a job that most men wouldn't think I could do," she continued. "I think I've overcome a lot, and I think Rosie the Riveter has been the inspiration for it all.”

What makes a Rosie now?

"Just being a girl and kicking butt!” said Sapienza.

She added that tough can come in many forms. 

"Here you go, baby," said Lillie Patterson, handing a cup of crushed up cookies in milk to her great-grandson. "Do you want to go outside and eat or do you want to eat in here?"

Lillie's whole world is seen in pictures on the fridge. They're her great-grandchildren; Konner, Kayden, and Kole.

"I wouldn't trade them for nothing," Lillie said. "I love them kids, and they love me. You should see them when they come home from school. They nearly knock me down running from the bus!"

She never guessed she'd be raising children again. She opened her door to the three after the loss of their mother, Ashley, Lillie's granddaughter.

"She had a heart murmur," said Lillie. "She didn't tell any of us about it. She went to bed one night. She just didn't get up the next day. It's been three years. She was so young. She was 29. I'm 76. As long as I can, I will be going for [my great-grandchildren]. I will. No matter what. I don't know what I'd do without them. I don't know what they'd do without me. The devil, he can take me down. He puts me down every day. I get disappointed. I get depressed sometimes, but when I see those kids and their faces, I hope and pray that I'm doing a good job with them.”

Taking her car to the shop, Lillie met a new friend, Danielle.

"Lillie's vehicle is in poor shape," said Danielle. "She has mold inside of her engine. Her windows don't stay up. She tapes them. It's done. I couldn't keep refixing the same problem because it's going to cost more than the vehicle to repair, and it's not worth it to her. Meanwhile, she's got these kids, and she needs a vehicle now.”

Knowing Lillie, knowing her story, Danielle decided there was something she could do about Lillie's car.

"I got you another one," said Danielle, handing Lillie the keys to an Acura SUV at the shop.

"No, you didn't," said Lille, still stunned to see the SUV, topped with a big red bow. "No, no, no.”

Lillie gasped and placed her head in her hands.

"I love you!" she exclaimed, hugging Danielle.

With the help of her community and a GoFundMe page, Danielle's collected money to buy the SUV for Lillie and her great-grandchildren.

"Oh Lord. Oh Danielle," said Lillie, still stunned.

"She is stronger than she thinks she is just like the real Rosie the Riveter," said Danielle. "She's just doing what she has to do."

"She saw a need in me, that I needed a friend, and she took me on," said Lillie. "I love her for it."

"Rosies for life!" shouted Danielle, posing with Lillie for a picture, both women making the Rosie the Riveter pose.

"Yes, we're gonna fight forever," said Lillie. "I'll never give up."

Click to help Danielle in paying off the new SUV and covering Lillie's future expenses.

 
 

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Reporter

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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