Florida Veteran Receives NABC Recycled Ride at Daytona International Speedway
Published Sept. 5, 2023
On Aug. 26, Nilsson Garcia, a deserving Daytona, FL-area veteran, experienced a life-changing event---the presentation of a vehicle to provide him independence and the ability to get work---thanks to the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides® program along with car donor GEICO and collision repair partner Daytona Toyota–Certified Collision Center.
NASCAR Racing Experience helped wave the green flag for the event, which took place before the NASCAR Cup race at Daytona International Speedway that evening. GEICO is a NASCAR Premier Partner, and Toyota is an official partner of Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR Racing Experience donated passes for driving school at Daytona International Speedway for Garcia, his mentor from charity partner Soldiers' Angels, and for the team from GEICO and Daytona Toyota.
NABC, GEICO and Daytona Toyota–Certified Collision Center presented Garcia with a 2015 Ford Escape. Garcia, who served in the U.S. Army from 1991–1995, has been without a vehicle since he had to give it up after losing his job at the beginning of the pandemic. He came to Soldiers' Angels last year, wanting to serve as a volunteer. He was recruited to serve as an intern for Soldiers' Angels and has worked extremely hard to meet the internship requirements. He had to either borrow a vehicle or use public transportation to get to work.
“This vehicle is such a blessing to me, I’m really just in shock,” said Garcia. “This means the world to me. I just want to be an example for other veterans who are facing challenges that there are people who care and are there to help. Now, I want to pay it forward for someone else.”
For Daytona Toyota–Certified Collision Center, this is its fifth NABC Recycled Rides vehicle.
“We want to be good community partners and give back to those in need,” said Todd Sindel, collision center manager, Daytona Toyota. “To help a veteran like Nilsson get back on the road with reliable transportation and give back to other veterans is our goal. Thank you to our team here at Daytona Toyota for all their hard work refurbishing this vehicle for him. It’s an honor for us all to participate.”
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 3,200 vehicles valued at some $46 million.
Additional partners in the NABC Recycled Rides presentation include 1-800 Charity Cars and Enterprise.
Nilsson was also honored as the City Furniture Everyday Hero and the vehicle was “unveiled” on the big screen at Exploria Stadium that night during pregame before the Orlando City vs. St. Louis Soccer Game.