Repairer Who Helped Solve Rape/Murder Named One of Five NABC Pride Award Winners - BodyShop Business
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Repairer Who Helped Solve Rape/Murder Named One of Five NABC Pride Award Winners

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In the July 2010 issue of BodyShop Business, 45-plus year collision industry veteran Sam Metz told the story of how he was able to assist Reno, Nev., police in solving the abduction, rape and murder of Santa Barbara City College student Brianna Denison by James Biela, who was ultimately convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection.

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He was one of five incredibly deserving individuals who were named winners of the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) Pride Awards at the Collision Industry Achievement Luncheon in Las Vegas on Nov. 3. This was the NABC’s 15th annual event honoring such individuals.

All five of the NABC’s Pride Award winners’ stories are just as engaging and fascinating as Metz’s:

Carl Garcia, owner, Carl’s Collision, Fall River, Mass.

Carl Garcia was designated a Hometown Hero in his community of Fall River, Mass., because he has tirelessly volunteered on behalf of families, children and the elderly. Garcia has been involved in Citizens for Citizens – Operation Christmas, a Wish Come True, the Sea Arid Scholarship Fund, the Fall River Firefighters Association, the Rhode Island Diabetes Association and the Katie Brown Fund, which raises awareness among youths about domestic violence.


“Mr. Garcia’s selfless behavior has had a positive impact on the lives of many,” said BankFive President Thomas Lyons. “His tireless efforts inspire all; his willingness to help has been a great influence on those around him.”

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In addition, Garcia was noted for donating a refurbished van to the Fall River Council on Aging as part of NABC’s Recycled Rides program.

“I know that [NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala] has often mentioned that part of his motivation to improve the image of the industry was listening to his dad complain about how people perceived the collision repairer and how he wanted to do something so his children would not have that label,” said Garcia. “I’m sure my dad also had heard similar comments, and if I can help improve the image of the collision repair industry while also helping out my neighbors and those in need — as I was raised to do by my parents — and future generations of collision repairers are given more respect, well, that really is a win-win, isn’t it?”

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Church Brothers Collision Repair, Indianapolis, Ind.

Church Brothers Collision Repair, based in Indianapolis, Ind., is an 81-year old family-owned and operated business. The company was recognized for its ongoing efforts to collect food and money to benefit multiple food pantries in the Indianapolis area through the third annual “Driving Down Hunger” food drive. All six Church Brothers locations serve as food and cash collection sites for the campaign, and Church Brothers encourages other businesses to get involved by making Driving Down Hunger collection site kits available. By April 2010, Church Brothers had collected 4.3 tons of food and generous cash contributions for several food pantries.

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“The need for help just keeps growing,” said Church Brothers co-owner Rhonda Hall. “More people out of work means more people going hungry. Driving Down Hunger helps stock their shelves and helps get them through this recession, which has hit Indianapolis hard.”


Sam Metz, retired, Bill Pearce Collision Center, Reno, Nev.

Sam Metz knew, when he heard a Reno, Nev., college student had been abducted, raped and murdered, that he had the skills to help find the killer. A founding member of the Nevada Collision Industry Association and retired manager of Bill Pearce Collision Center in Reno, Nev., Metz did it using the skills and tools his long career in the collision repair industry had placed at his fingertips.

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When police released information about the crime and two others like it in the vicinity, they included a detailed description of a vehicle. Using Mitchell UltraMate and CCC Pathway illustrations, Metz determined the vehicle was a Toyota Tacoma. He confirmed his findings on Carsdirect.com and then, working with a Reno detective, identified a partial VIN, enabling police to find the criminal using vehicle registrations. The suspect was arrested thanks in no small part to Metz.  


Robert Jesberger, Mid Island Collision, Long Island, New York

Robert Jesberger of Mid Island Collision in Long Island, New York, possesses a long record of giving back to society in and around the New York area. He started an annual coat drive for children. On Thanksgiving, he buys 3,500 turkeys and canned goods for local soup kitchens. He contributes to the Wounded Warriors organization and to the Bethany House for retired nuns. Jesberger recently bought a truck for the homeless shelters to transport food, much of which is donated through his efforts.

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Mike Peppers, owner, Sergeant Peppers Auto Shop, Davenport, Iowa

Mike Peppers has either assisted or played Santa Claus for over 40 years in Quad Cities, Iowa, beginning with the Davenport Jaycees in 1965 and progressing through the Davenport Public Library, the Quad City Arts Festival of Trees, and a number of other projects to help handicapped and low-income children. When he served a tour of duty in Vietnam, Peppers took the Santa suit with him.

Mike’s gift of time and resources to bring Santa Claus to the citizens of the Quad Cities is unrivaled as the longest running charitable donation in local history. In 2004, he received the Friend of Davenport Award, and in December 2009, he became Davenport’s official Santa by proclamation of the city council.

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Peppers was nominated for the Pride Award by one of his long-running competitors, John Arnold, a man who freely admits he only conversed with Peppers a few times before nominating him. When Peppers received the award, he was clearly touched by his competitor’s gesture.

“I saw John in my office, and it was a little shocking because it was the first time I had ever seen a competitor in my office,” says Peppers. “When he told me I had won the award, it kind of shook me; we both sat there for awhile and shed a few tears.”

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The NABC says it was honored to be able to facilitate the recognition of each deserving recipient.

“I never get over how many exemplary people the Pride nominating and award process uncovers each year,” said Pride Co-Chair Bob Keith. “And I know there are many more to uncover. We’re asking everyone to be on the lookout for the 2011 Pride nominees.”

“This year, the efforts and great deeds of our colleagues brought the industry assembled in the room to its feet,” said Pride Co-Chair Janet Chaney. “I never get tired of the look in the eyes of the winners; I guess you can say they’re filled with the industry’s ‘Pride.’"  

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The Pride Awards recognize those individuals or groups from the industry who selflessly contribute to the world around them. The award has been given for bravery, philanthropy, charity and selfless acts of kindness. It transcends the rigors of daily business and reaches out to uncover those not seeking recognition for themselves, NABC says.


More information:

National Auto Body Council


More about Sam Metz: Former Body Shop Manager Helps ID Vehicle Involved in Rape/Murder

More about Carl Garcia

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