Iraq War veteran Josue Guerrero-Uribe received a completely refurbished 2017 Hyundai Elantra from Allstate and Caliber Collision in Costa Mesa, CA, late last year as part of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides™ program.
A retired member of the Marine Corps Infantry, Guerrero-Uribe was nominated by The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that enables veterans to continue their service in the community through a wide range of philanthropic activities.
With his Elantra, Guerrero-Uribe was able to help more people and pay the gift forward, he said.
"When I saw that the people at NABC, Caliber Collision and Allstate were doing such a wonderful thing for me with this car, I knew that I had to use this vehicle to help others,” he said. “It was a blessing and unexpected, so I realized right there that I could use it to further my work with The Mission Continues.”
Before he received the Recycled Rides vehicle, Guerrero-Uribe said he was spending countless hours on public transportation traveling to participate in his volunteering activities.
"I was taking buses and trains to different events, and then one day I was standing there in the rain and the people at The Mission Continues asked me, ‘How did you get here?’” he said. “When I told them I didn't have a car, they recommended me to the Recycled Rides program, and then one day I got the call."
Since then, he has logged hundreds of hours to help build sports fields and schools and teach financial management and English classes at various schools and libraries to some of Los Angeles County’s poorest residents with The Mission Continues.
Less than 20 years ago, Guerrero-Uribe’s situation was a lot different than it is today.
"I enlisted in the Marines in December 2000 at age 23, and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA, and then things happened quickly after that," he said. "I entered boot camp in January, graduated on Mother's Day, graduated from infantry school on the 4th of July and then joined my platoon in August---all in 2001. And then 9/11 happened. Everything happened so fast; I never even got a chance to unpack my gear."