NABC Presents Six Deserving Recipients with Cars at SEMA

NABC Presents Six Deserving Recipients with Cars at SEMA

Half a dozen deserving individuals and families from Nevada received keys to completely refurbished vehicles by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) at its annual Recycled Rides Luncheon on Nov. 2nd at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

More than 300 people enjoyed the presentation luncheon held at the Westgate Las Vegas Paradise Convention Center, with many of the sponsors, body shops and insurance companies that donate their time and money to the Recycled Rides Program each year in attendance.

This year's six Recycled Rides recipients were selected in partnership with three local nonprofit service organizations – Family Promise of Las Vegas, The Shade Tree, and The Marine Corps League. This year's vehicles were donated by Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, USAA, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and Hertz and were refurbished by collision repairers, including Caliber Collision, Fix Auto Henderson, Gaudin Ford, Gerber Collision & Glass and Rupert’s Auto Body. Parts, materials and services were contributed by LKQ Corporation, Axalta, AkzoNobel, ColorGlo, High Sierra Glass Works, LT Mufflers and Brakes, Milne Auto Tow, Reno Buick GMC, Sierra Wheel Repair, The Pit Shop, Alpine Lock and Fast Glass.

Executive Director of the National Auto Body Council Chuck Sulkala has been hosting these car giveaways since the program began, and he was back on the dais again this year. “Lack of transportation is in many cases a major obstacle for people and their families as they attempt to recover from catastrophic circumstances such as unexpected job loss and homelessness,” said Chuck Sulkala.  “Our goal with Recycled Rides is to positively change lives by donating vehicles that represent hope, independence and freedom. Of all the things we do here at NABC, this is probably the most satisfying--giving cars to people who truly deserve them."

The six recipients this year included Suidi Ali, who received services from Family Promise’s Shelter Program earlier this year after losing her job and apartment. She now has a great career and an apartment that she and her children are happy to call home, but her car (until now) was a major concern. Suidi Ali has been working hard to leave homelessness in her rear window, and her nearly new 2016 Hyundai Accent will help her achieve it. Ali was nominated by Family Promise of Las Vegas and the car was donated by Enterprise and refurbished by Gerber Collision.

Brigette Garcia and her husband have two young sons with special needs. To get to her sons to the their medical appointments, Garcia depends on public transportation, and it is stressful at times. Brigette recently landed a good job in the medical field, and her husband works from home so he can be available to care for their children. Their 2008 Ford Edge will help the Garcia family manage their daily transportation without the stress and expense of taking the bus. The Garcia family was nominated by Family Promise of Las Vegas; the car was donated by Allstate and refurbished by Gaudin Ford.

The third recipient, Debbie Hatfield, and her two sons were in Family Promise several years ago until she could obtain employment and get back on her feet. Earning minimum wage, one of her sons was on the baseball team, and it was always a challenge to get him to his games. On top of it all, this single mother's vehicle broke down earlier this year and eventually died, but her transportation problems are gone because she now has a 2014 Chevy Impala. The car was nominated by Family Promise of Las Vegas and donated by GEICO and refurbished by Caliber Collision-Reno.

Lorae Chadwick, her husband and their one-year-old daughter were forced to leave their previous apartment due to an abusive situation with their roommate. They had to live in separate shelters initially until they were able to receive support from The Shade Tree organization and find housing together as a family. This is truly a family that is becoming self-sufficient, and with their completely refurbished 2015 Hyundai Leandra, they will be able to live productive lives without the drama of not having reliable transportation. The Chadwick family was nominated by the Shade Tree and the vehicle was donated by Hertz.

The final two Recycled Rides went to members of the military. First, Navy Seabee veteran Jeffrey Hicks was severely injured while on deployment in Afghanistan and has faced many challenges adjusting to living with the injuries he sustained. Jeffrey's wife is employed while he takes care of their two sons, taking them to sports events, school and family gatherings. When his car died, taking care of the children was a daily challenge, but with their completely refurbished 2012 Nissan Murano, they will be on time all the time. Hicks was nominated by the Marine Corps League and the Murano was donated by State Farm and refurbished by Fix Auto Henderson.

The final recipient was Patrick Kelly, a Marine Corps veteran who still suffers from injuries sustained from a 2,500-ft. fall from a helicopter during a parachute accident. After more injuries followed while on duty, Kelly received an honorable discharge from the Marines and then later a degree in medical illustration. He currently works at the veteran’s affairs office and volunteers with the Marine Corps League, and now he will be able to get there easily with his 2011 Mitsubishi Gallant. Kelly was nominated by the Marine Corps League and the vehicle was donated by USAA Insurance and refurbished by Rupert's Auto Body in Carson City, NV.

Kelly said that the car presentation was a "major event" in his life, and he couldn't stop thanking Ted Rupert, whose shop refurbished the car and brought it back to life. "So many people have helped me along the way, and Ted as well as USAA are amazing to do this for me. With my Gallant, I will be able to do so much more and get to where I need to be on time."

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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