The National Auto Body Council (NABC), along with GEICO, Caliber Collision Centers, Ray Mees Auto Coach and Cherry Hill Collision Center, presented the gift of reliable transportation to four deserving New Jersey veterans as part of their Recycled Rides program.
The presentation was held in conjunction with the NABC Garden State Pars for Cars Golf Fundraiser at Mountain View Golf Club in Ewing Township, N.J. The veterans were selected by New Jersey Veterans Network. This event marks some 2,750 vehicles presented by NABC – with nearly 40 of those in the Trenton/ Princeton/Ewing Township area – and more than 370 vehicles donated by GEICO.
“What an honor to recognize four deserving veterans and, along with our NABC members, present them with refurbished vehicles that provide them independence and the ability to work and care for their families,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of the NABC. “Many thanks to GEICO for donating all four vehicles and to the collision repair shops for restoring them to like-new condition. To hear these veterans share their stories and the impact these vehicles will have on their lives is truly inspirational.”
Shawn Mangin, an Army veteran who served as a gunner and infantryman, received a 2016 Hyundai Sonata that was donated by GEICO and refurbished by Cherry Hill Collision Center. After his service in the Army, he now supports a natural disaster response team.
“This will help me get the independence that I once had,” said Mangin. “The New Jersey Veterans Network really came through for me and helped me out when I needed them. Now, I try to dedicate as much time to them as I can.”
Dina Bowers, who served in the Navy on a submarine, received a 2018 Toyota Corolla that was donated by GEICO and repaired by Ray Mees Auto Coach. With an 18-year-old adopted daughter and challenges with chronic pain and mobility, a reliable car will make her life much easier.
“Thanks to everyone who had anything to do with this. God bless you,” said Bowers. “This means so much to me. I’ve always bought secondhand cars that are not very reliable. I volunteer with my church and take people to appointments, church and other activities, but it was hard with an unreliable car. Having a 2018 car is just amazing. Thank you!”
Pedro Muriel is an Army veteran who served several tours of duty but faced challenges when he returned home. He received a 2017 Hyundai Elantra donated by GEICO and refurbished by Caliber Collision Pennsauken. Today he is the single father of four boys and works to give back to other veterans in need.
“Thank you to everyone who had a hand in this,” said Muriel. “Thank you to Michael Boll from the Veterans Network. That guy is amazing. This means a lot to me. As a single father, not having a reliable car makes it hard to get around. But I don’t make excuses, I do what I have to do as a dad. This will help me out tremendously and I will pay it forward. This will allow me the opportunity to help more veterans.”
Hazel Rogers was presented a 2018 Hyundai Elantra donated by GEICO and repaired by Caliber Collision Pennington. She served in the Army as a cook stationed primarily in Germany. Without a reliable vehicle today, she is challenged to care for her family and herself.
“This car is an incredible gift,” said Rogers. “Not only will it give me a way to get back and forth to medical appointments and such, my daughter is in college and I try to go see her once a semester. We’ve had quite a bit of struggles the last year, and I lost my dad to COVID. This will help us get back to our life. Thank you to anybody who had anything to do with repairing this vehicle. This is life-changing.”
The lead technician who handled the repairs for both of the Caliber Collision locations, Thomas Adams, donates his time and talents to repair NABC Recycled Rides for a special cause – his late father-in-law, who perished at Pearl Harbor. He has worked on four NABC Recycled Rides.
“I do this for my father-in-law,” said Adams. “He was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery, and I want to help other veterans by honoring my wife’s father.”
NABC Recycled Rides is a program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the program in 2007, NABC members have donated more than 2,600 vehicles valued at more than $36 million.