The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has received board approval to help Operation Comfort’s Automotivation program secure a new facility in which it can continue to help disabled U.S. service members and their families through the instruction and practice of proper collision repair.
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Located in San Antonio, Texas, Operation Comfort complements the rehabilitation efforts carried out by the U.S. Army at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). As a form of occupational therapy, the organization runs the Automotivation program through which disabled veterans — in many cases those that have lost one or more limbs — are rehabilitated through automotive-related activities such as rebuilding and restoring cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
“In addition to being important physical, emotional and mental therapy, Automotivation can provide a path back to the workforce for participants,” stated Operation Comfort’s Executive Director Janis Roznowski. “There’s a special connection between this work and the service members performing it. It’s something they love to do and it shows.”
The ranch-type property Automotivation used for training and projects is being sold. Operation Comfort used the facility without a rent or utility obligation. However, a newer, larger building much closer to the hospital is being offered for sale to Operation Comfort. This opportunity provided the impetus for the new NABC initiative, formed to raise — from within and outside the collision industry — the funds for purchasing and renovating the building.
Though fund-raising details are still being finalized, the National Auto Body Council will work—as they did on the Camp Mak-a-Dream Health Center and Collision Industry Relief—with the Collision Industry Foundation, a recognized 501(c)(3) charity. Because the Foundation will be the entity through which money will be raised, those wishing to support Operation Comfort will have the option to make their donation tax deductible.
A fundraising committee is being created to seek out contributions at several different levels: corporate donations for vendors, insurers and other interested businesses, as well as body shop level and individual contributions. Matching grants are also being considered in order that businesses and employees, vendors and customers, and other partners can be invited to match funds. A recognition wall is being explored to honor contributors. Steel nameplates, bricks engraved with the donor’s name , and plaques are all being considered for various levels of giving. The size of the recognition would be commensurate with the extent of the donation.
“Our battle-tested veterans have given more of themselves for their country than most of us can even imagine,” stated NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala. “The least we can do is help with this small token of appreciation and pay back for the sacrifices they have made. We ask that everyone in the collision industry begin thinking about what you, your business and your employees and friends can do to help support Operation Comfort. A new building will give our veterans a reason to get up in the morning and the desire to get into a civilian industry they love—our industry.”