Wednesday, 30 November 2005 17:00

Students, a corp - and Santa - are 2005 Pride award recipients

Written by Autobody News staff
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Five recipients - each more deserving than the next - were presented the National Auto Body Council's (NABC) annual Pride Awards during the Industry Night of Achievement at NACE. 

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CEO Rick Keister accepts Pride award for Keystone Automotive, honored for charitable contributions.

Charlie Robertson and his students at Cerritos College in Los Angeles received the Pride Award for restoring a car for an active serviceman. When Aaron Musgrave was called to duty in Iraq, he was restoring a 1966 El Camino. As a thank you for his service, Robertson, and more than 25 of his students, donated over 1,500 hours of their time to restore Musgrave's car.

NABC Vice President Stacy Bartnik presented the evening's awards, stepping in for Pride Award Chairperson Janet Chaney, who is currently serving on a hurricane catastrophe team. "We thank these students for going above and beyond to make a dream come true for someone who gave up that dream in order to serve out country," expressed Bartnik and Chaney.

Keystone Automotive honored

Keystone Automotive Industries, represented by President and CEO Rick Keister, was recognized for its charitable efforts. "Keystone's charitable works are truly outstanding," said Bartnik. "They were instrumental in raising the money needed to build a health center at Camp Mak-A-Dream. And Keystone has diligently worked to ensure sufficient funds were raised to purchase a new bus for the Camp. When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, Keystone, through a matching donation program, raised over $140,000 for the Save the Children Foundation. Keystone's generosity makes our world a better place."

Toby is the industry's Santa Claus

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Toby Chess -- aka Santa Claus -- proudly displays his Pride award. Chess is the Chairman of Los Angeles I-CAR and regularly raises funds for childrens' causes.

"The collision industry knows Toby Chess," continued Bartnik. "His technical and training skills are well known. Perhaps not so well known is the boundless energy he donates to local and national charities. By raising $4,000, he provided the down payment seed money for the Camp Mak-A-Dream bus.

When the California Highway Patrol ran short of money, Chess collected funds from area businesses and then matched those funds out of his own pocket, allowing the CHP to buy Christmas toys for underprivileged children. When the devastating fires ravaged southern California, Toby again spearheaded the drive to donate over 2,000 toys to children who had lost their Christmas. And, as that season comes again, Toby is working hard to make sure children affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have a toy for Christmas. I second Janet's opinion when she said that Toby is our industry's Santa Claus."

Family values

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Good deeds pay off with Pride award for Piña family of Brea, California who work with an orphanage in Mexico.

For the last eleven years, the Piña family, owners of Brea Auto Body in Brea, California, have helped the Mount Tabor Orphanage in Tecate, Mexico, grow from a single RV to a ten-building community with over forty nuns and a priest in residence. The orphanage is a sanctuary for children who are victims of abuse, child prostitution and poverty.

In 2004, the facility's well ran dry (literally). The Piña family - David, Virginia Doreen, Denise and her new husband, Fred Gruner - has been working to raise the $80,000 necessary to run a dedicated water line from Tecate to the orphanage. Over $10,000 has been raised to date, not including Denise and Fred's wedding donations which they requested in lieu of gifts. "The National Auto Body Council is extraordinarily proud to give you a 2005 Pride Award," said Bartnik as she honored the family.

Personal risk

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 Joe Canby of Smoot's CARSTAR, shows off his Pride award, presented by NABC President Guy Bargnes. Looking on is NABC Vice President Stacy Bartnik.

Joe Canby, Smoot's CARSTAR Collision Center in Reistertown, Maryland, is more than a shop owner. He is also a funeral director who, after the events of 9/11, underwent two years of training to deal with human loss on a large scale. Within days after Katrina hit, Canby was on his way to the Gulf Coast to assist fellow colleagues and help the military deal with the death and destruction dealt the area by Katrina. "I doubt any of us can imagine the horrific scenes that greeted Joe," said Bartnik. "The only thing we can do is thank him for caring enough to do what he did, and for treating his fellow Americans with grace and dignity following one of our country's worst natural disasters."

"In recent years," said NABC President Guy Bargnes, "it seemed as if a heroic effort was required to receive an award. While there is no doubt that those individuals richly deserved their awards, let us not forget that the self-sacrifice demonstrated by tonight's award recipients is no less heroic. They all make us proud to be in our industry."


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