Yorktown Auto Body in Yorktown Heights, NY, gave away five cars to individuals in need on Saturday, Oct. 5.
The winners were announced and drove away in their cars after attending a celebration held its Front Street shop.
The owner, Perry Gusikoff, and his business partner, Carlos Fernandez, wanted to give back to the Yorktown community by helping five individuals whose lives would improve because of the donation.
“It’s about the community coming together and helping everybody out, that’s what Yorktown’s about. I’m glad that we can extend that to other people,” Gusikoff said at the celebration.
Yorktown Auto Body bought, repaired, and refurbished all five cars and have been working on the giveaway for the past five months, Gusikoff said.
Individuals from the community came forward to lend a helping hand as well, with some contributing parts and paint, Fernandez said. Anonymous cash donations were given to the shop to pay for registration fees for all five vehicles and the new owners were each given a $250 gas card along with their cars.
“It’s something nice for the community. You always have to give back something; it’s the right thing to do,” Fernandez said.
The winners—Bobby Caroline, Julie Marotta, Eric Lemus, Jose Andrino and Diego Ortiz—are all Yorktown residents who were nominated by someone close to them and selected by a committee made up of five Yorktown officials and business owners.
On the committee were Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli; Councilwoman Alice Roker; Mike Dubovsky, owner of Hanover Electric; Town Comptroller Pat Caporale; and Bruce Apar, a community organizer.
Caroline, who is currently in the seminary, was nominated by his aunt and uncle, Jim Caroline.
Caroline’s father suffered a massive stroke this past year and his car kept breaking down on the drives to see his father in the hospital.
“It’s a real godsend. I’m just very grateful for Perry and the Yorktown Auto Body shop and the panel for picking me,” Caroline said. “There’s just a deep sense of gratitude. Really words can’t express it enough.”