The National Auto Body Council (NABC), along with Farmers, GEICO, Travelers and Schaefer Autobody, recently donated refurbished vehicles to three deserving St. Louis veterans and military families via the Recycled Rides program to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families.
The presentation was held Sept. 12 at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo. Following the golf fundraiser, players and guests gathered for the heartwarming presentation for the veterans and military families.
“This is what we are all about,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of the NABC. “Being able to work with our members and partners to present the gift of reliable transportation to these three families is our mission. We’re proud to help them continue on their path to independence and success.”
The veterans and military families were selected by the Joshua Chamberlain Society and Heroes Cares, including:
- Robert Byrd, who was nominated by Heroes Cares and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1985 to 1995 as a sergeant and was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Turkey during Desert Storm. He has received numerous commendations, including the AF Commendation Medal, AF Outstanding Unit Award with one Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Southwest Asia Service Medal with one bronze star, among others. He works full-time and is currently dependent on a 1995 Pontiac Firebird, which is unreliable and requires extensive repairs.
- Danielle Pothoof, who was selected by the Joshua Chamberlain Society and retired from the U.S. Marine Corp as a staff sergeant. She served from 2009 to 2018 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. She was injured while traveling on a mission and ultimately lost her leg. Pothoof was awarded the Purple Heart for her service. Today, she is a mother to two children and a driver for Fedex. She is also an athlete and holds two Paralympic records and dozens of Warrior Games medals.
- Aleksandr Kisseloff, who was also selected by the Joshua Chamberlain Society and is the first-ever Gold Star family recipient. His father, Sergeant Dennis Kisseloff, served in the National Guard. In 2010, on an overseas mission, Sgt. Kisseloff’s unit was attacked by insurgents, and in the ensuing firefight, Sgt. Kisseloff lost his life in service to our nation. Today, Aleks is launching his career as a hair stylist, working in a salon and providing services for weddings on the weekends. He is dependent on reliable transportation for his career, and his current vehicle was damaged in an accident and needs mechanical repairs, also.
Schaefer Autobody, a locally owned collision repair center with 14 locations across the St. Louis area, handled the repairs for all three vehicles. This event marks some 35 Recycled Rides vehicles they have presented over the years.
“We’re a family business dedicated to giving back to our community, and this is one of the many ways we work to help those in need,” said Scott Schaefer, second-generation owner of Schaefer Autobody. “It’s an honor for our team to work on refurbishing a vehicle to help a veteran or military family who has served our country. We’re proud to be able to support them.”
Additional partners in the presentation include 1-800 Charity Cars; Enterprise; Longhouse Inventory Solutions; Bommarito; Yancey; Dent Wizard; Sick Tint; Onsite Wheels; Lou Fusz; and University Subaru.