... Volunteers of America Northern Rock helped select the individual who would receive the vehicle.
“Recycled Rides has a very strict criteria,” Myers told the Tribune. The individual needed to be able to afford the vehicle’s maintenance, insurance and licensing so that it “wasn’t being put on them as a burden.”
Recycled Rides also was looking for someone with specific personal goals.
“Being a veteran, down on their luck, so to speak,” Meyers said. “But was able to come back and fight strong.”
Brooke Cory of Volunteers for America said they chose to nominate Fontana for the program because “he needed a second chance.”
“When you face challenges in life, knowing that there are resources out there to help you get back on your feet is a very reassuring and powerful feeling,” Fontana said to the crowd, adding it was an unfamiliar feeling before meeting the ladies at the VOA.
Fontana is a recent graduate of Veterans Treatment Court, a program established by former Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski to help military veterans come back from crime, addiction and mental illness.
“You learn a lot of stuff going through Veteran’s Treatment Court and identifying psychological stressors that have presented unique challenges to my life since I was a child, and there's a lot of transition that happens with that,” Fontana told the Tribune. “Writing a new chapter in my life.”
Fontana is now working to turn his life around. He’s two weeks into a new construction job with Jorgensen Construction and was attending Great Falls College, but that’s on hold for now he said.
“I’m still in that rebuilding phase,” Fontana said. “The opportunity that this provides adds a great measure of security to that progress.”
The Recycled Rides Program has been bringing together different businesses from across the automotive industry to donate used cars to people in need since 2007. In the past 14 years, they have donated more than 2,500 cars.