The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has announced it has received board approval to help Operation Comfort’s Automotivation program secure a new facility in which it can continue to help disabled U.S. service members and their families through the instruction and practice of proper collision repair.
Located in San Antonio, Texas, Operation Comfort complements the rehabilitation efforts carried out by the U.S. Army at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). As a form of occupational therapy, the organization runs the Automotivation program through which disabled veterans in many cases, those who have lost one or more limbs are rehabilitated through automotive-related activities such as rebuilding and restoring cars, trucks and motorcycles.
“In addition to being important physical, emotional and mental therapy, Automotivation can provide a path back to the workforce for participants,” said Operation Comfort Executive Director Janis Roznowski. “There’s a special connection between this work and the service members performing it. It’s something they love to do and it shows.”
Unfortunately, the ranch-type property Automotivation used for training and projects is being sold, a development made even more disheartening because Operation Comfort used the facility without a rent or utility obligation. All is not lost, however, because a newer, larger building much closer to the hospital is being offered for sale to Operation Comfort. This opportunity provided the impetus for the new NABC initiative, formed to raise from within and outside the collision industry the funds for purchasing and renovating the building.
Though fundraising details are still being finalized, the NABC will work as they did on the Camp Mak-a-Dream Health Center and Collision Industry Relief with the Collision Industry Foundation, a recognized 501(c)(3) charity. Because the foundation will be the entity through which money will be raised, those wishing to support Operation Comfort will have the option to make their donation tax deductible.
A fundraising committee is being created to seek out contributions at several different levels: corporate donations for vendors, insurers and other interested businesses, as well as body shop level and individual contributions. Matching grants are also being considered so that businesses and employees, vendors and customers, and other partners can be invited to match funds. A recognition wall is being explored to honor contributors. Steel nameplates, bricks engraved with the donor’s name and plaques are all being considered for various levels of giving. The size of the recognition would be commensurate with the extent of the donation.
“Our battle-tested veterans have given more of themselves for their
country than most of us can even imagine,” said NABC Executive
Director Chuck Sulkala. “The least we can do is help with this small
token of appreciation and pay back for the sacrifices they've made. We
ask that everyone in the collision industry begin thinking about what
you, your business and your employees and friends can do to help support
Operation Comfort. A new building will give our veterans a reason to
get up in the morning and the desire to get into a civilian industry
they love our industry.”
Added Roznowski, “The guys in the Automotivation program were very disappointed when we
lost the old location, but I told them that when one door closes,
another one opens, and that’s exactly what happened when the National
Auto Body Council stepped forward to support us. I
believe in life’s blessings, and the NABC’s involvement to ensure our
work continues is the latest example of what can happen when you stay
positive and keep the faith.”
Donate to Operation Comfort’s Automotivation program by e-mailing Chuck Sulkala at [email protected]