Since 2009, members of the National Auto Body Council have donated 55 vehicles to help a wide range of people in Las Vegas—individuals, families and non-profit organizations that badly need transportation. Nationally, nearly 1,000 vehicles have been donated through the Recycled Rides program since 2007 in which companies representing all facets of the collision industry team up to repair and donate refurbished vehicles. All of their time is 100% donated—including body technicians, refinish professionals and even estimators—which means that the giving goes a long way and can involve 20-30 people in refurbishing one car.
This year’s vehicles were donated by Allstate Insurance (GMC Terrain); GEICO (Hyundai Elantra); Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Chrysler Town & Country); Hertz Corporation (Nissan Juke); State Farm Insurance (Toyota Corolla) and refurbished by body shops such as Proficient Auto Body, Caliber Collision, Gerber Collision & Glass, Service King and Jim Marsh Auto Body. Other companies that contributed parts and services include LKQ Corporation, Axalta Coatings, and AkzoNobel, 1-800 Charity Cars, powered by AudaExplore, a Solera Company, and many other local businesses.
Always opening the luncheon, Chuck Sulkala, NABC Executive Director welcomed all in attendance and kicked off an afternoon of giving.
“This program has grown over the years and it’s very satisfying to see it as it has evolved,” Sulkala said. “Changing lives is one thing we can all do in the collision industry and giving deserving people the gift of transportation is a unique role we can play. If the lack of a vehicle will deter someone’s success for whatever reason, it is our duty to help them if we can. These recipients just need a car to complete their journeys and this program enables them to do that. It’s all about empowering people and helping them to be better and getting them in a position where they can truly flourish. Our recipients become lifelong spokespeople for the Recycled Rides Program and that’s why it’s so wonderful, because it keeps giving again and again.”
After Sulkala’s comments, Rick Turri, Chair of the Recycled Rides Committee made a brief presentation, followed by Linda Sulkala, Program Manager for Recycled Rides; Dave Jochman, Chaplain for the Leatherneck Club, Marines Corps League and Terry Lindemann, the Executive Director of Family Promise of Las Vegas, all of which talked about the history of the program.
Four of the Recycled rides vehicles were gifted to families nominated by Family Promise of Las Vegas and the fifth vehicle was presented to a military veteran selected by the Leatherneck Club. The recipients are:
· Sherwood Wade-El and his four children, one of which is wheelchair-bound, have been without a car for several years. Having a car will allow the family to participate in more school activities and open new employment opportunities for Wade-El.
· A dependable car will help Nicole Williams, a single mother with three children to achieve her goal of being self-sufficient despite having medical challenges of her own.
· Thomas Mlechick is a Vietnam War veteran who relies on rides from friends for frequent medical appointments, so a new car will help him to complete his Ph.D. and continue his ministry as a chaplain in the Marine Corps Honor Guard.
· Robert and Shasity Basuil depend on public transportation to get themselves to work, school and day care for their five children, so their newly refurbished vehicle will allow then to be more productive and enjoy their family more.
· For Chrysalyn and Ny Springer and their four children, a car will add countless hours to their day, allowing them to spend quality time with their family instead of sitting on the bus.
“We would like to thank all of the insurance companies that donate the cars and all of the shops that refurbish them, back to where they look new,” Terry Lindemann, Executive Director of Family Promise of Las Vegas said. “It means so much more, because we know (and the recipients know) that a lot of people really care and are willing to step up in a big way This program is special and we’re blessed to be part of it.”