A Navy veteran and his partner were honored with a newly restored car during a special presentation at the Hot August Nights Awards presentation in Virginia City, NV, on Saturday, Aug. 3.
The vehicle was donated by Caliber Collision and Allstate Insurance as part of a national program to repair and donate vehicles to individuals in need of reliable transportation. The 2013 Ford Edge from Allstate was restored by technicians at Caliber Collision in Sparks, NV, who volunteered their time and skills as a community service.
Elmer “Les” White and Wayne Gongaware have been life partners for over 35 years. White is in hospice care in Reno and Gongaware has been commuting five to six days a week from their home in Silver Springs, NV, to be close to White during this time.
Gongaware has put thousands of dollars in repairs to try and keep an unreliable 1990 Toyota Corolla running so he can be close to White. With White in a long-term care facility and their reduced household income, buying a car is not an option and ongoing transportation for Gongaware to visit has been a huge concern.
A U.S. Navy veteran, White served during the Korean War as the secretary to the Admiral. He was also deployed to Japan and the Philippines during his eight years in the Navy.
Gongaware and White were nominated for the car donation by the Veterans Guest House in Reno, which provides short-term accommodations for veterans, military members or immediate family who are undergoing medical treatment in the Reno-Sparks area.
Melissa Davids from the Veteran's Guest House said, "We nominated Wayne because he supports his spouse who is a veteran and is in long-term care. And to us it is so important that the family member of veterans be there to support their veterans.
The car donation by Allstate Insurance and Caliber Collision is part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program that connects collision industry companies to repair and provide cars to individuals in need.
Allstate Insurance has been involved with the Recycled Rides program since 2010.