The professionalism, integrity and generosity of the collision industry took center stage last week at NACE | Cars Expo & Conference as three military veterans and two single parents received keys to newly refurbished cars through the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides™ program.
“I am grateful, you all have blessed my family. This vehicle will make a big difference in our lives,” said Travis Steele, an Army veteran who received a van for his family of six – and one more on the way.
Since the inception of Recycled Rides in 2007, more than 1,000 vehicles valued at over $12 million have been donated across the country. Recycled Rides is a national program in which collision industry companies team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals in need.
“This is what the National Auto Body Council is about. We want to change and save more lives and Recycled Rides is one of the ways our collective collision industry can do that,” said Domenic Brusco, NABC Chair. “We thank the many volunteers, our NABC Board of Directors, and all our members because it is with their support that we can change and save more lives. If you’re not a member, I would ask that you to join us today so that we can make an even bigger difference.”
The families were nominated by nonprofit charitable organizations in the Southern California area.
Travis Steele was an Army reservist living in Arizona and called back last year to active duty in Ventura. With prohibitive California housing costs out of reach for the family, his wife and four children – and one due in September – stayed behind in Arizona. An old car broke down, with repairs costing more than the value of the car, now limiting Steele’s ability to visit his family. Nominated by Support The Enlisted Project (STEP), Steele will receive a 2013 Dodge Caravan donated by Insurance Auto Auctions and repaired by Pacific Elite Collision
John Munoz, an Army veteran enjoyed a 10-year- career at McDonnell Douglas until he broke his back, was unable to work and depleted his savings. His car had become his home until it was stolen while he was in the hospital. Nominated by U.S. Veterans Initiative, he will receive a 2014 Nissan Sentra donated by Hertz, repaired by MAACO Lake Forest
Lisseth Lopez, a single mother and home health care provider, is devoted to raising her 15-year-old daughter who is at the top of her class. Lopez is the original owner of an unreliable 2001 Nissan Pathfinder with 300,000 plus miles and costly repairs that exceed the car’s value, and her only means of transportation to work. Lopez was nominated by Family Promise South Bay and will receive a 2013 Honda Accord donated by State Farm and refurbished by Platinum Collision. Centers.
Frederick Lewis, a Marine veteran, suffers from disabilities related to his years as a mortar, ammunitions and gunner specialist. He currently endures wo-hour bus rides from Santa Ana to the VA Hospital in Long Beach, and has been told he needs to increase treatment up to five times a week. Nominated by U.S. Veterans Initiative, Lewis will receive a 2012 Mazda S donated by GEICO and repaired by Fix Auto Tustin.
Destiny Bracamonte, a single mother working two jobs to support her family, is always on the road, whether it’s driving to work appointments, medical visits, school activities grocery shopping. Her current high mileage vehicle breaks down often and is highly unreliable. She was nominated by The Sheepfold and will receive a 2011 Honda Accord donated by Allstate and repaired by Service King Placentia.