Wednesday, 31 December 2003 17:00

Three vehicles donated to deserving community members

Written by Karyn Hendricks
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Mike's Auto Body of Concord, California made Christmas merrier for the needy and deserving in their Bay Area community this year through the Akzo Nobel Benevolence Program. Keilah Johnson, Jose Luna Jr. and Youth Homes, Inc., each went home with a new "used" vehicle. Joined by 18 Bay Area collision industry vendors, Mike's Auto Body repaired three vehicles that had been "written off" and gave them to groups and individuals who will use them to improve their own lives and the lives of others. 

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Mike Rose with recipient Keilah "KJ" Johnson.
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John Cannada, a Mike's Auto Body tech who donated his time to work on the vehicle, handed over the keys to Youth Homes, Inc.
Mike's has participated for three years in the Akzo Nobel Benevolence program. This year, 26 collision centers around the United States and Canada committed to the program. The shops worked with local charitable organizations to help identify those in need of a vehicle. They then purchased a vehicle in need of repair, brought it to pre-accident condition and worked with a local insurance provider to secure coverage for the vehicle for a predetermined period of time.
"Thanks to this dedicated group of businesses, The Benevolence Program has been able to touch many deserving families at a very special time of year," says Mike Sillay, manager of North American Services for Akzo Nobel. "Members of the Sikkens Acoat selected program take pride in their local communities. The Benevolence Program is just one additional method for collision repair professionals to distinguish themselves and to demonstrate their concern for the communities that they serve."

Recipients demonstrate need and promise

With over 100 applications from people all over the county in need of transportation, the decision on to whom to give these vehicles is always a difficult one.

Youth Homes, Inc., a non-profit organization that serves children and adolescents who can no longer live at home with their families - often through no fault of their own - received a 1995 Chevrolet Astro van. On any given day, the counselors of Youth Homes can make five to eight trips to schools, the grocery store, medical appointments and court appearances, so reliable transportation is critical to the success of their program.

Keilah Johnson (KJ), a single mother of an eleven-month-old little boy drove home in a 1998 Ford Taurus. Having a vehicle of her own will allow Johnson to pick up her son from day care everyday after work without having to take public transportation, walk or wait for a ride.

Jose Luna Jr. and his wife were recipients of a 1996 Ford Windstar van, which was donated by AAA of Northern California. Having this vehicle will allow Luna and his wife to safely get to work to create a better life for their two children.

"We are in an industry that has the means to get these vehicles road ready, it is just a matter of making it happen," commented Mike Rose. "For the sake of the other applicants that are still in need of reliable transportation, we only hope that more auto body shops can create similar programs of their own."

Among the guests present at the ceremony was Mayor Helen Allen, who just the evening before had presented Mike Rose with a proclamation declaring December 15-19 as National Benevolence Week.

Past Mayor Mark Peterson, Chamber President Nick Virgallito and Chamber Board Member Dirk Wentling were also present, along with most of the vendors who had donated parts and services and our technicians that donated their time and talents. The keys to the vehicles were presented to the new owners by Mike's auto body technicians.


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