Vallejo Body Shop Gives Away its 11th Car

Vallejo Body Shop Gives Away its 11th Car

Just like Nigel Tufnel said in the film This is Spinal Tap, "This one goes to 11!"

Sure, it's a fairly obscure movie reference, but it is fitting in this instance, because when it comes to giving cars away, this Bay Area body shop turns up the volume every year right after Christmas for its annual car presentation.

On December 29, Regal Collision in Vallejo, CA presented a completely refurbished 1997 Buick LeSabre to a deserving family from the Vallejo area. This marks the shop's 11th car presentation as part of the national Akzo Nobel Benevolence Program, a community relations program that generates goodwill at the local level while improving and promoting the image of the collision repair industry as a whole.

Jael Hernandez, a single mother with two children, was shocked and surprised when she saw her vehicle for the first time during the car unveiling at Regal Collision. Jim Boyle, the owner of Regal Collision, is proud and pleased to be giving a completely refurbished car to someone in the community that needed a vehicle to provide much-needed mobility and freedom for Hernandez and her kids.

Jael Hernandez and her two children were surprised and thrilled when they found out that they were the owners of a pristine 1997 Buick LeSabre.

“The whole community has stepped up to help us in this endeavor,” Boyle said. “We love to be in a position to help a family like this that is so deserving. By having this vehicle, Jael will now be able to get to to and from her job in safety. Previously, she had to walk at night in a sketchy neighborhood to return home from work, but now she has a car. She is a hard-working woman who just wants to provide for her children and now she can do so much more with this LeSabre. Our beloved San Francisco Giants did not end the year well, but we at Regal Collision ended ours in a big way with our 11th car presentation."

For 10 of the 11 vehicles that Regal Collision has given away over the last 12 years, one local company has stepped up to make sure that each one is mechanically sound before any recipient receives it. Milt's Service Garage, a neighbor of Regal Collision, is happy to be involved in the program, according to the shop's Co-owner Adrian Radu.

"This particular car was in good condition and we put around 20 hours into it," Radu said. "Helping the community is a huge thing for us here and this is a part of that. The Boyles are great people and we often refer each other for work. It's always tremendously satisfying every year when they present the vehicle to the recipients and I never get tired of it. We have discussed doing a car giveaway ourselves in the near future, because we have seen how much it brings people together for an incredible cause. We're all in business to make money, but we can't forget why we're here, and I believe helping people is a part of that."

Regal Collision's VP Shellie Boyle has played an integral role in every giveaway since it began and the part she values the most is the way the community rallies around the program every year. "Philanthropy is contagious and the companies in Vallejo that work with us are amazing," she said. "The people at Napa Parts in town told us whatever we need we could have it and that is just one example. When Jael's son jumped into that car seat with a big smile and said, 'Mommy, can we go for a ride?' it was one of those moments that you can't really describe."

Each year the collision repair industry as a whole comes across cars that are “written off” by either the owner or the insurance company. Often these are older vehicles that just need some mechanical and body work to get them road ready and perfectly safe to drive. The Acoat Selected Benevolence Program achieves its mission by presenting refurbished cars to deserving individuals or organizations during the holiday season.

Shops participating in the program in conjunction with local charitable organizations to identify an individual or group that is in need of a vehicle is a big part of the process. This year, an organization called Fighting Back Partnerships helped Regal to find Hernandez for the giveaway. In addition, body shops in the program can also work with a local insurance provider to secure coverage for the car for a pre-determined time. This year, it was donated by Enterprise in Vallejo, CA.

Sponsors for the vehicle giveaway included: Akzo Nobel-Sikkens, Milt’s Service Garage, Napa Auto Parts, Vallejo Tint Shop, Aldred Insurance, Sullivan Chevrolet, Automotive Aftermarket Services, Enterprise, Industrial Finishes, and Dent Solutions. The sponsors donated either services, products or cash to the cause. In addition to the vehicle, Hernandez also received $750 in gift cards donated by sponsors and local businesses.

Ed Attanasio

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

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