At the NACE event, five insurance companies donated vehicles for refurbishing: Allstate, Esurance, GEICO, Progressive and State Farm. Enterprise Rent-A-Car donated a vehicle as well.
The Maltese family received a Ford Escape refurbished by Car Craft Collision Center and donated by Enterprise.
The Jiles family lost their vehicles in Hurricane Isaac and received a Honda CRV, refurbished by Champ’s Collision Center and donated by GEICO.
The Easley family received a Dodge pickup truck, refurbished by Collision Xperts and donated by Progressive.
Brenda Kenna was overjoyed to receive a Toyota Camry that was refurbished by Car Craft Collision Center and donated by Esurance.
Carolyn Gagliano, a retired teacher, is thankful for her new Chevrolet Impala refurbished by Fradella’s Collision Center and donated by State Farm.
David Marlowe is retired and has major health issues. He will benefit from the Ford Explorer that was refurbished by Champ’s Collision Center and donated by Allstate.
“This car is giving me my life back,” said Marlowe. “You lose your last vestige of independence when you lose your transportation.”
For Calvin Schenck, owner of Car Craft Collision Centers, participating in the Recycled Rides Program means paying it forward.
“This journey started seven years ago as a result of the largest national disaster that the United States had ever experienced. That disaster was named Hurricane Katrina,” Schenck said. “No one could have expected the amount of physical, financial and emotional damage that one event could cause. Thousands of people were left jobless, homeless and directionless. We were part of that group.
“As we struggled to get our lives and businesses back together, we were contacted by people in our industry, who told us that they were ready to roll up their sleeves and help, and that they did. We were given hope that there were people out there who cared. Help arrived in the form of tool replacements and emotional support,” Schenck said.
“Before we knew it, we were beginning to heal. Had it not been for the help of these people, we don’t know if we could have made it. Because of this, we have decided to pay it forward. The cars given away are part of a project that has required us to complete all necessary repairs to these vehicles, some of which we have equipped with new tires and paint jobs. We would also like to thank Mike n’ Jerry’s Paint and Supply, Lamarque Ford and Gulf States Glass for the supplies they donated.”
Car Craft Collision Centers donated body and paint work to a 2007 Toyota Camry. “We put four new tires on this vehicle and an alignment, as well as completing an oil change and a complete analysis of the proper function of the vehicle and servicing the A/C system,” said Schenck.
Champ’s Collision Centers, owned by Tim and Danny Kingston, worked on two cars, a 2002 Ford Explorer and a 2004 Honda CRV. The cars were donated by Allstate and GEICO.
“Both cars have under 100,000 miles and should provide safe and reliable transportation for years,” said Tim Kingston. “Champ’s is proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to such a great cause benefitting our community.”
Fradella’s Collision Centers refurbished a 2007 Impala donated by State Farm. According to Fradella’s Vice President Al Waller, the shop repaired small dents and scratches, replaced the front bearing, brought its maintenance up to date and detailed the vehicle inside and out.
“The goal is to help people help themselves,” said Chuck Sulkala, the executive director of the NABC. “And all of the industry segments commit to playing a part in seeing that happens. Most that participate find it a life-changing experience.”
The Recycled Rides program was born in 2007. Since then, 150 cars are given away every year throughout the country, said Liz Stein, VP of Industry Relations, Assured Performance Network and VP of NABC. “Imagine the impact this would be in your community if more people did this.”