Labor of Love: Husband of former city councilwoman works to restore old car for kidney donor

Layne Pachl screams for joy as she sits next to Sandi Elder in the car that Elder gave her Friday in Greeley. The surprise car was a token of appreciation given to Pachl for her kidney donation to Elder. (Joshua Polson/
Though Sandi Elder knows better, she has an occasional nickname for her husband: She calls him "Stoic 'Ole Willie."

You might not ever get to see the Tootsie Roll under that hard exterior, unless you mention Layne Pachl, the 20-year-old who saved Sandi's life.

Then Willie starts crying.

That's why, for many days in the past year, Willie got up early, sometimes at 3 a.m., to work on the 1965 Mustang.

Willie is a handyman who works full-time at a church and part-time pouring concrete and other odd jobs while his wife, Sandi, works at North Colorado Medical Center and is running for the Board of Weld County Commissions after spending eight years on the Greeley City Council.

Willie also is a genius at restoring old cars.

He's made some into barbecue grills, which got him on a TV show. He's turned others into cars, like the 1940 Chevy Truck that he and Sandi still use for their date nights.

A month after Layne donated a kidney to save Sandi from a genetic condition that had her on dialysis, Willie found the Mustang. Continue reading