Veterans Day is Always Benevolence Day at Mike’s Auto Body

Veterans Day is Always Benevolence Day at Mike’s Auto Body

Mike’s Auto Body presented a 2013 Ford Focus Titanium to Air Force Senior Airman Scott Woolridge from Travis Air Force Base and his family as part of their annual Benevolence presentation on Veterans Day at the company’s Fairfield location.

Mike's has been in business for 44 years and participating in the Benevolence Program for 16 years of presenting cars to deserving families. The company's third Benevolence presentation of 2016 is scheduled for December 14 at their Antioch ADAC location, where they will give away five more vehicles, bringing the total to 66 cars since 2000.

Woolridge is a deserving recipient of this year's Veterans Day Benevolence vehicle, according to Mike's Auto Body's Sal Contreras, who emcees every car giveaway for the company.

"Senior Airman Woolridge is truly an inspirational young man," Contreras said. "He is reenlisting again and is working toward a career in the Air Force. Listening to Lt. Col Gregory Cyrus, Senior Airman Wooldridge is a hero who saved a small village from burning down while deployed in Ethiopia by starting a water bucket chain bringing buckets of water from the river to put out the fires and pulling children out of the burning village."

The application letter the Vintage Valley Blue Star Moms selected and sent to Mike's Auto Body earlier this year from Senior Airman Scott Wooldridge was both emotional and compelling. "My wife Jamie and I have an 11-month old son named Jase who was born 12 December 2015. I am currently an Aerial Porter in the 821 Contingency Response Support Squadron and serve under Lt. Col Gregory Cyrus. The 821 CRSS is a rapid mobility squadron which is capable of deploying anywhere in the world within 12 hours to set up a fully-operational airfield. My family will benefit greatly from the Benevolence program, as we do not currently own a vehicle of our own.

"Having our own vehicle will make getting my son to and from his doctor's appointments much easier as well as being able to pick up groceries and other items for our household. My father-in-law has generously lent us one of his cars, but we will not be able to keep it permanently. I'd like to thank you for considering my family for the Benevolence Program. It has helped out many families and I hope mine will be fortunate enough to be a part of it. My wife and I volunteer at the homeless shelter and soup kitchen. Having a car would give us the opportunity to help out more and to give back to the community while not having to worry about public transportation," the letter read.

"Presenting the car to the Wooldridge family was such an honor," Contreras said. "It is an ideal way to thank him for his service and the sacrifices he makes in working towards keeping our country safe. It was also exciting to have two former recipients and their families walk with us and the Vintage Valley Blue Star Moms in the parade and attend the presentation."

The Mike’s Auto Body Benevolence program is a “community give-back program” whose mission is to present cars to deserving individuals or organizations during the holiday season. Everything is donated, including the cars, parts, paint, mechanical inspections, tires and one full year of insurance. The body and paint technicians at Mike’s Auto Body donate their time and skills to turn these cars into pristine “new” used vehicles. This year's vehicle was donated by GEICO Insurance, and Woolridge received one full year of vehicle insurance donated by Mike’s Auto Body as well.

Owner Mike Rose still gets excited when he sees a car going to a deserving family, he said. “Every time we do this, I get a thrill, and usually some tears are involved. We feel honored to be able to do this and we will continue to do it as long as we can."

The company's Marketing and Sales Manager Dane Dearlove explained why Mike's Auto Body has a Benevolence Program, and the value it brings to the entire community. “The Benevolence Program is about who we are as a company," Dearlove said. "It is our culture. It is in our DNA. It starts at the top with the Rose family, and is a part of every employees understanding of what our team is about, and what they are a part of."

This year, Mike’s Auto Body partnered with the Vintage Valley Blue Star Moms of Solano County, Travis AFB and GEICO Insurance during Veteran’s Day. Special recognition goes to the Travis AFB and Family; Readiness Center; Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee; Vanden High School Jazz Band—Director Nicholas Cagle; Recycled Rides; IAA and Pink Heals of Solano County--Natalie Zell.

Special thanks to Mike's employees: Metal Technician Sheldon Ludlow, Paint Technician Thomas Wilson, Managers Missy Trolinder and Tony Castagnetto and the rest of the crew at the Fairfield location for helping to refurbish the vehicle. Thanks also go to Dean’s Auto Radiators, Pacific Rims, Enterprise, Napa Auto Parts, Enterprise, Lexus of Concord, Ron Dupratt Ford, Good Guys Gen, Fairfield Tire Center, Dan's Glass, MAB Towing, Big Discount Tire Pros and Hertz for donating parts and time to make the car just like new.

Ed Attanasio

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

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