Chinedu Ikene, 19, was a member of the youth group at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church after moving to Dallas from Nigeria in 2017. After working on his authorization paperwork, he realized he needed to learn how to drive. Marty Loman, church youth sponsor for 14 years, stepped up.

The father of four girls, Loman had been through the drill. He volunteered to pick up Ikene at his apartment before church every Sunday for a half an hour or hour of driving time to help him get his learner’s permit.

“I followed the same outline that I used with my daughters,” says Loman, who has been a member of the church for 16 years. “Figure out how to drive straight, right and left turns.”

Ikene, now a student at Richland College studying cybersecurity, says it was a challenge to keep the car moving straight at first. “I got the hang of it in the parking lot, and he said, ‘OK, let’s hit the street now.’ And I was like, ‘Uh-oh. I don’t think I’m ready for that.’” 

The two progressed. Ikene drove on Preston Road and Royal Lane, dealing with stoplights and then tackling the highway. Driving at a high rate of speed led to a panic attack with cars honking, but Loman steered him to a side street to get his bearings. “I got the hang of it,” Ikene says.

Ikene now has his driver’s license and has been driving himself to school in his mom’s car, a 2010 Toyota, since the beginning of the semester. He hopes to get his own car soon.

How calm was Loman? “He wasn’t scared at all,” Ikene says. “He wasn’t putting too much pressure on me. It made me more confident.”

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