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The National Auto Body Council (NABC), along with USAA, Lacey Collision Center, and Certified Collision Group affiliates Collision 1 Auburn, Trew Auto Body, 1st Class Auto Body – Burlington and 1st Class Auto Body – Bellingham, recently donated refurbished vehicles to five deserving Washington State military members and their families at Lakewood City Hall in Lakewood, Wash., as part of the NABC’s Recycled Rides program.
The presentation was part of USAA’s 100th anniversary celebration, through which it will gift 100 NABC Recycled Rides vehicles to military families across the country, including Nashville; Seattle; Chesapeake; Savannah; Charlotte; Colorado Springs; Denver; Phoenix; Tampa; San Diego; and finally San Antonio later this year.
“Today, USAA is presenting vehicles to five deserving military families to give them the gift of reliable transportation in commemoration of USAA’s 100th anniversary,” said Luke Harris, vice president of innovation, USAA. “Thank you to our many partners, including the NABC Recycled Rides program, for making this possible.”
For 100 years, USAA has served active-duty service members, veterans and their families. Recipients have been nominated by nonprofit organizations to receive a NABC Recycled Ride. With the partnership of the NABC, a non-profit committed to serving their communities and many in the collision repair industry, vehicles are repaired and donated to individuals identified who need reliable transportation.
“We are so grateful to see this program come to Lakewood,” said The Honorable Mary Moss, deputy yayor of Lakewood, who presented a proclamation naming it USAA Day in Lakewood. “Our military community is very important to us, and we are honored to be a part of USAA’s 100th anniversary celebration to present NABC Recycled Rides to five enlisted men and women who will benefit tremendously from the gift of reliable transportation.”
The recipients were selected by Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), which builds financial self-sufficiency among junior active-duty enlisted members and recently discharged enlisted veterans and their families facing financial crisis through counseling, education and grants. The recipients included:
- Alex Free (United States Army, Private Second Class), who received a 2018 Toyota Camry that was repaired by 1st Class Auto Body
- Wendy Bernal (United States Army, Private First Class), who was presented a 2019 Toyota CH-R that was refurbished by Lacey Collision Center
- Doodley Joseph (United States Army, Specialist), who was gifted a 2018 Kia Sportage that was repaired by 1st Class Auto Body
- Jacob Simula (United States Army, Private First Class), who received a 2017 Hyundai Elantra that was refurbished by Collision One
- Damien Smith (United States Army, Specialist), who was presented a 2018 Toyota Camry that was repaired by Trew Auto Body
“We were honored to join our member USAA in their 100th anniversary celebration, and grateful to our members who refurbished all of today’s beautiful vehicles,” said Dale Ross, program manager for Recycled Rides. “It is incredible to meet these military members and their families and hear their stories. We are honored to be able to pay tribute to their service to the country and help them continue their path to independence and success with the gift of reliable transportation.”
“This means the world to me,” said Smith. “I owe a lot of people rides who helped me get places when I didn’t have a car. I’m so grateful to everybody for putting this together, I’m going to try to pass this forward at every opportunity.”
Additional partners in the presentation included 1.800.Charity.Cars; Enterprise, which provided TBD to each family; and Longhouse Inventory Solutions, a 100% Native American female-owned company that provides child safety seats to car rental companies, which donated two car seats to the families.
Recycled Rides is a unique 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 program in 2007, NABC members have donated nearly 3,000 vehicles valued at some $42 million.