It was all part of the MSO's annual Benevolence program, a community relationship program with a mission to present refurbished “new” used cars to deserving individuals or organizations.
Traditionally, one of the Benevolence vehicles is covered and adorned with a red, white and blue bow, and rides in the parade on one of Mike's Auto Body's tow trucks all the way to its Fairfield location. With a new twist this year, the people at Mike's asked the recipients to drive their Benevolence cars in the parade the next day, Nov. 11.
"The cheers of joy and gratitude were shouted out along the entire parade route," Program Director Sal Contreras said. "It was so amazing to see all of the love and support that was exhibited by the community. It means a lot to all of us at Mike's Auto Body, as well as the two military families that received the vehicles.
“Senior Airman Khalil Hart, who is a reservist at Travis AFB, received a 2012 Chevrolet Impala that was donated by Nationwide Insurance and then refurbished by the crew at our Fairfield location. In addition, Senior Airman Kyle Forsyth received a 2014 Toyota Corolla that was donated by GEICO Insurance and then refurbished by the crew at our Antioch store.”
Hart will now be able to attend a school in Oakland, CA, to pursue his A&P (Aircraft and Power plant) license to work on airplanes. Since the commute is at least 90 minutes in each direction, the Hart family will now be able to attend community and church events, meetings and doctor's appointments for their two young boys, thanks to their Impala.
Forsyth is currently assigned to the 60th OSS, where he works as an Air Traffic Controller in the RAPCON. He is married with three children, and has been stationed at Travis AFB since 2013. With his new transportation, Kyle will now be able to to get his 1-year-old son, Hayden, to his doctor's appointments and other commitments on time. Born in June of 2016 with a rare form of congenital heart disease that required emergency open heart surgery, the Forsyths’ lives were instantly turned upside down when Hayden entered the world. Thankfully, the surgery was successful, but Hayden still needs constant medical attention, which means visiting doctors throughout the Bay Area on an ongoing basis. Life will be considerably easier for the Forsyth family by having a second vehicle.
This year, Mike's Auto Body partnered with GEICO Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Operation Care and Comfort, TAFB Airman and Family Readiness Center, Recycled Rides, Charity Cars, IACC, NABC, Fairfield Tire Center, Napa Auto Parts Fairfield, Roseville Toyota, Lexus of Concord, Winter Chevrolet, Precision Brake and Front End, Big "O" Tires, O'Reilly Auto Parts and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Derek Voss, GEICO Auto Damage Adjuster, presented Forsyth with his vehicle and Brad Slease, Nationwide Insurance Claims Manager, presented Hart with his car.
Just like at every Benevolence event since day one, Contreras made a few welcoming and closing remarks.
"We never get tired of giving vehicles to deserving people in the military, and this year was special because we were able to give away two cars," he said. "By providing these recipients with these cars, we're giving them the gift of transportation that offers them independence and a chance to improve their lives. We call this a hand-up, rather than a handout, because we have seen these vehicles enable people to do great things."
The company's next Benevolence presentation of 2017 is scheduled for Dec. 13 at its Antioch ADAC location where it will give away four more vehicles, totaling to 72 cars since 2000.
The Mike’s Auto Body Benevolence program is a “community give-back program” with a mission to present cars to deserving individuals or organizations during the holiday season. Everything is donated, including the cars, parts, paint, mechanical inspections, tires and one full year of insurance. The body and paint technicians at Mike’s Auto Body donate their time and skills to turn these cars into pristine “new” used vehicles.