4 Las Vegas Families Receive NABC Recycled Rides Over NASCAR Weekend
Published March 17, 2023
When the engines revved at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in early March, there were four new drivers in the field---four deserving Las Vegas families, including one military member.
They were presented with vehicles to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families, thanks to the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides® program along with car donor GEICO and collision repair partner Caliber Collision, whose technicians donated their time and skills to refurbish the vehicles, along with support from Speedway Children’s Charities–Las Vegas Chapter.
The NABC Recycled Rides event, the first ever at a NASCAR race, was held during the NASCAR race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Speedway Children’s Charities–Las Vegas Chapter selected the recipients through their charity partners, including Children’s Foundation of Las Vegas, Valley View Community Cares, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the YMCA of Southern Nevada.
The four Toyota vehicles were donated by GEICO, which has contributed more than 700 vehicles to the program. Caliber Collision handled the repairs at its Caliber Collision Meridien, ID, Caliber Collision Millcreek, UT, Caliber Collision El Paso West, TX, and Caliber Collision El Paso Zaragoza, TX, locations. Caliber has refurbished more than 500 cars through NABC Recycled Rides.
“It was incredible to work with our partners GEICO and Caliber to present four Las Vegas families with the gift of reliable transportation in front of thousands of NASCAR fans,” said Scott Sampley, chairman of the NABC Board of Directors. “Thank you to our host the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and our charity partner Speedway Children’s Charities–Las Vegas Chapter for making this possible. So many of our NABC members also support NASCAR, and this presentation was a powerful way to harness our collective involvement to change and save lives. We hope to continue to recognize deserving local community members at NASCAR events this season and unite our members in giving back to those in need.”
The recipients on March 4 were recognized on the Las Motor Speedway Fan Zone stage, where their vehicles were unveiled before a crowd of race fans. They included:
Lynette Brandon, who was nominated by YMCA of Southern Nevada, is a single mother of three chldren, one of whom has special needs. She lost her vehicle in an accident several years ago, and lost her job in 2020. She now walks or takes the bus with her children to get them to school, appointments and activities. Lynette has secured a job and has goals of being a manager, and the support she receives from the YMCA of Southern Nevada for two of her children’s education and social needs makes it possible for her to work.
She received a 2017 Toyota RAV4, and the gift of reliable transportation will allow her the time and independence to care for her family, and eliminate the daily fear she has walking home from the bus stop after work.
Pablo Sandoval, nominated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Las Vegas, along with his wife, Alejandra, and 6-year-old, Joshua, have endured an incredible four months of triumph, tragedy and hope. Pablo, Alejandra, who was pregnant with twins, and Joshua left their home country of Colombia when it became unsafe. They came to the U.S. with plans to settle in Florida with family, but Alejandra went into premature labor during a transfer in Las Vegas. Their twins were born at 22 weeks, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities stepped in to help care for the family during the twins’ hospitalization. Sadly, one of the twins passed, but the family is looking ahead and building their life in Las Vegas.
Pablo has gotten a job, enrolled his son in school, gotten his driver’s license and is working on his family’s official paperwork. Through this, they have been dependent on public transportation and the RMHC family shuttle. With the gift of a 2019 Toyota Camry, Pablo can now care for his family, more easily visit his hospitalized son, Jacobo, and embark on a fresh start and hope for the future with Las Vegas as their home.
“This was a special weekend for GEICO as we were able to continue our donation of vehicles to NABC Recycled Rides. Efforts like these demonstrate GEICO’s commitment to our communities and helping people when they need us most,” said Frank Pickering, vice president of operations, physical damage, GEICO. “We are honored and grateful for the opportunity to work with these great partners. We wish these recipients and their families many miles of enjoyment on the safe road ahead.”
On March 5, just before the green flag waved in the Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup Series race, NABC, GEICO and Caliber presented two vehicles on the pre-race stage right in front of the grandstands as race fans cheered for the recipients. They included:
Emilio Swann, who was nominated by the Children’s Foundation of Las Vegas, is an active-duty Marine who is training to join the Military Police K-9 unit. He just graduated from boot camp as second in his platoon in December 2022. He grew up in foster care, and lived in 20 different homes before he was 18 years old. He struggled with little help, worked very hard for everything and never lost his motivation to turn his life around. Today, he struggles with transportation to the base and daily activities. The gift of a 2015 Toyota Camry helps him continue his journey to success.
Ellen Mills, nominated by Valley View Community Cares, has been part of Valley View Community Cares for more than 20 years. She started as a participant in the program, and later became a mentor providing relentless volunteer hours to children in the same community. Today, she is married with a son, and she and her husband have faced tremendous challenges. They lost their home and car in September 2022, and Ellen has faced serious health issues since then. They have been struggling to return to work, get stable housing and regain their health, all without a vehicle. The gift of a 2016 Toyota Prius helps them regain hope and continue to care for their family.
“This is truly an amazing gift and an incredible day,” said Mills, who was on stage for the NASCAR presentation. “My family and I are so appreciative. This will really help us get to work, go to medical appointments and take of everyone. Thank you to everyone involved.”
“As one of the nation’s largest automotive services provider, Caliber has built our business and culture around our purpose of Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®. We are especially proud of our Caliber teammates, their commitment and passion to donate their time and talent to restore vehicles for four deserving families,” said Todd Dillender, COO for Caliber. “We’re grateful for our continued partnership with GEICO and NABC Recycled Rides, gifting safe and reliable transportation across the communities we serve.”
NABC Recycled Rides is a unique program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the NABC Recycled Rides program in 2007, members of the NABC have donated more than 3,000 vehicles valued at some $42 million.
Additional partners in the NABC Recycled Rides presentation include Enterprise, Co-Part, 1-800 Charity Cars, LKQ, AutoZone, Tire & Brakes Service, Protech, Big O Tire, Jiffy Lube, O’Reilly’s/First Call Auto Parts, Karl Malone Toyota, Krams Professional Detailing, Caliber Auto Glass, Alloy Wheel and AutoNation Toyota Tempe.