Wednesday, 05 June 2019 14:51

NABC Recycled Rides Program Donates Three Refurbished Vehicles to St. Louis Veterans

Karen Cooksey in her new car, alongside GEICO. Karen Cooksey in her new car, alongside GEICO. NABC

On Monday, June 3, three deserving St. Louis veterans experienced a life-changing event—the presentation of vehicles to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families.

The presentation was held at the NABC Gateway Pars for Cars Golf Fundraiser at the Boone Valley Golf Club, in Augusta, MO. The deserving veterans were selected by H.E.R.O.E.S Care (Homefront Enabling Relationships, Opportunities and Empowerment through Support).


car unveiling web


“All three of these St. Louis community members served their country and were honorably discharged,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of the National Auto Body Council. 


The recipients included:


  • Karen Cooksey served in the military from 1983 to 1989. She has endured debilitating spinal pain, endured several failed surgeries and has had issues with diabetes. These conditions made it impossible for her to work, so she became homeless—living in her Jeep.

“It’s just unbelievably exciting,” said Cooksey. “The car is sharp—it’s a beautiful car.”


  • Adelita Ousley is a proud Navy veteran having served on active duty for eight years from 1988 to 1996. Ousley reached out to H.E.R.O.E.S. to help get her life back on track after suffering from a serious illness, a major vehicle breakdown, a pending divorce, depression and PTSD.

“The car is beautiful,” said Ousley. “The very first thing I noticed was the National Guard emblem. I appreciate everything the NABC and these people have given to me.”


  • Melvin Wright spent a total of 23 years of combined active and reserve duty in the U.S. Army. He served in the US Army from 1971-1973, enlisting during Vietnam and serving his active duty time in Germany. He is now retired and disabled.

“Well today I am blessed,” said Wright. “I want to thank each and everyone here, mainly my Lord Jesus Christ, for making this happen for us.”


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