“Oh my God, thank you,” Huerta said, wiping away tears. The Army National Guard veteran was selected to receive the car through the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) Recycled Rides Program. Huerta said she drove a truck in places like Iraq and Kuwait, delivering and picking up supplies. She was shocked when she realized the car was for her. “It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it,” said Huerta.
The car giveaway marked the 150th for Sterling Autobody. The giveaway took place at the company’s Libertyville location, 1536 Artaius Parkway, and was done in cooperation with Allstate Insurance Company of Northbrook.
“You’re a hero in our eyes,” Alex Feliciano, Sterling Autobody regional director, told Huerta. “This is just another way for us to say thank you.”
Seven Sterling locations in the Chicago market filled the car with Christmas presents for Huerta’s children, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car presented Huerta with a gas gift card.
Feliciano said the NABC came up with the idea seven or eight years ago to bring the various parts of the auto repair industry—including repair shops and insurance companies—together to give cars to deserving people. Sterling Autobody has participated in the program for six years.
The majority of vehicles go to veterans, but some go to non-profit organizations or needy families, Feliciano said. Sterling Autobody usually does its car giveaway around Thanksgiving, but this year’s was moved closer to Christmas.
“I look forward to it every year,” said Feliciano. “It’s a joy.”