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30,000-square-foot facility will rehabilitate and train disabled veterans on collision repair, estimating and refinishing, preparing them for reentry into the civilian workforce.
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has announced its formal plan to deliver an accredited I-CAR curriculum-based training and support facility for disabled military veterans. The plan includes raising $1.5 million to purchase, completely renovate and equip a 30,000-square-foot training facility in San Antonio, Texas, on behalf of Operation Comfort’s Automotivation program.
Operation Comfort is a 501 C-3 nonprofit organization that 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 who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are helped with rehabilitation through automotive-related activities such as rebuilding and restoring cars, trucks and motorcycles.
“To our knowledge, no other industry-wide entity has made the effort to work directly with our wounded warriors to provide ongoing, industry-specific training,” said NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala. “These men and women will receive instruction in collision repair, estimating, vehicle refinishing and other related topics toward the goal of preparing them for reentry into the civilian workforce, namely our industry.”
In addition, the new building will serve as a host facility for I-CAR classes for the collision repair industry in the area.
“It is an honor for our organization to be involved in a project that brings all industry segments together to help those who have given so much for the peace we so dearly treasure,” said I-CAR Chairman John Van Alstyne. “It is the very least we can do for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much. We welcome them into our industry with arms wide open.”
Vehicles donated to be repaired via Automotivation will become gifting opportunities for military families in the local San Antonio area through the organization’s Recycled Rides program. Tax deductible fundraising efforts are underway. Suggested donation levels are $100 for individuals and $500 per location for shops. Those who donate $100 or more will receive a commemorative dog tag and will be recognized on a permanent wall of thanks at the building site.