Sgt. Tracy Hillman served a combined 16 years in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Reserve, during which she was deployed six times.

Meghan Overdeep
November 9, 2018
Today

When Jenna Bush Hager heard about the scarifies Sgt. Tracy Hillman has made for both her country and her family, the Today correspondent knew she had to find a way to say thank you.

Hillman earned a Bronze Star for her combined 16 years in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Reserve, during which she was deployed six times. But when she found out two of her young cousins needed a home, she dropped everything and moved back to raise them. Now, money is tight for the single mom who always manages to put others first. Her savings has been whittled down to zero.

“Raising kids costs money,” Hillman told Hager.

After spending some time with her under the guise that she was being interviewed for a Veteran’s Day feature, it became abundantly clear to Hager what Hillman needed most: a new car.

“It’s dying!” her cousins Isiah and Jose told Hager. “The breaks go squeaaak! One of the windows doesn’t work. No AC—we fixed it twice.”

So, the Today Show and Progressive’s Keys to Progressalong with some help from her hometown—surprised Hillman with a brand-new car.

WATCH: Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush Open Up About How Their Family is Coping After Their Grandmother's Death

“This reinforces what I try to teach my kids,” she wrote in a thank you letter to Hager. “That If you’re a good person, good things will happen.”

Watch the magic unfold here. For more information about Progressive’s Keys to Progress project, visit Progressive.com.