The National Auto Body Council (NABC), GEICO and four New Jersey collision repair facilities presented five refurbished vehicles to New Jersey military veterans on Aug. 29 at the NABC Northeast Regional Golf Fundraiser. The car presentation, held at Mountain View Golf Course in Ewing Township, N.J., was part of the fourth annual NABC Northeast Golf Fundraiser, which this year saluted the “Veterans Drive Fore Courage” and provided a day of golf for local military veterans.
“Today was a major milestone for the NABC Recycled Rides program, not just in the positive impact we are creating for these five deserving military veterans, but in the 1,800 lives we’ve changed with gifted vehicles since the program began in 2007,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of NABC. “This is a great moment for the collision repair industry and the many partners over the past decade who have supported the NABC and donated vehicles, materials and time to make these donations possible. Together, our industry can make a difference in the communities where we live and do business.”
The presentation of the NABC Recycled Rides to five deserving military veterans provides them much needed reliable transportation to allow them to work and care for their families. The veterans were selected by Community Hope – Hope for Veterans and the New Jersey Veterans Network. Recipients included:
- Christopher Fowler of Toms River, N.J., who was presented a 2014 Honda Accord that was donated by GEICO and restored by Benner’s Auto Body in Cranford, N.J. The New Jersey Veterans’ Network selected the U.S. Army veteran to help him meet his family’s needs and work his way out of financial hardships. With a wife, young son and baby on the way, having a vehicle that he didn’t have to worry about paying for would allow Fowler to get his family to appointments and provide them some much needed stability.
- Michael Perise of Bergen County, N.J., who unveiled a 2016 Honda CR-V that was donated by GEICO and also restored by Benner’s Auto Body. Perise, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was selected by the New Jersey Veterans’ Network. As a single father of four, Perise has worked hard to take his family from homelessness to a more secure life. Reliable transportation will allow him to travel to work and continue to improve his family’s situation.
- Patrick Chandler of Flemington, N.J., who was gifted a 2014 Ford Edge that was donated by GEICO and restored by Son’s Prestige Collision in Garwood, N.J. Chandler, who served in the U.S. Army, was selected by the New Jersey Veterans’ Network because a car would allow him to continue working, return to therapy for a spinal injury and PTSD, and re-establish his independence after a series of job and health setbacks.
- Callious Dennis, of Lyons, N.J., who received a 2012 Chevy Cruze that was donated by GEICO and restored by Caliber Collision-May’s Landing. Community Hope – Hope for Veterans chose Dennis, a veteran currently residing at a transitional program for homeless veterans, because the gift of transportation will help him acquire employment. It also will allow him to visit his daughter who will be attending college in the fall. Dennis gave her his vehicle so she could get to her part-time job and have transportation at college. The new vehicle will also allow him to attend church and his wellness groups.
- Tyler Caplan of Lyons, N.J., will receive a 2016 Hyundai Sonata that was donated by GEICO and restored by ABRA Auto & Glass – Pennington. Caplan served in the U.S. Army. He was selected by Community Hope – Hope for Veterans because a vehicle would help him regain his independence and get a better job, which would allow him to re-establish his relationship with his family and young daughter after a period of financial and domestic challenges. Caplan was unable to attend but will receive his vehicle in a separate ceremony later this week.
The donation of five restored vehicles through the NABC Recycled Rides program was made possible by NABC partners, including:
- GEICO, which donated the vehicles
- ABRA Auto & Glass – Pennington
- Benner’s Auto Body
- Son’s Prestige Collision
- Caliber Collision – May’s Landing