The vehicle presentations were part of the annual, weekend-long "Carry The Load Memorial Day" events to honor veterans, active duty military service members and first responders. The first vehicle was presented at the opening ceremonies in Austin and five additional vehicles were gifted the next day at the closing ceremonies in Dallas.
The six recipients were selected by the Carry The Load non-profit committee. Over 120 nominations were submitted by the community at large throughout North Texas and Austin.
Team members at Caliber Collision volunteered personal time to repair and donate the vehicles as a way to give back to those in the community who are facing challenges with basic transportation. The six heroes selected to receive vehicles were:
- Brandon Walden, an Army infantryman who escaped gunfire in Afghanistan only to sustain injuries when he went back in danger’s way to save his squadron leader, received a 2012 Honda Civic Sedan EX
- Paul Bales, who wears many hats with his “triple certification” as an EMT, firefighter and law enforcement officer. An unexpected health issue left him in a coma for several months and his family is facing financial difficulties with him unable to work. Bales received a 2012 Hyundai Elantra.
- YaSheere Denson, a U.S. Army veteran, single mother of three boys, who until recently, was homeless as she struggled with combat–related disabilities. She received a 2014 Toyota Camry, which will enable her to return to school to complete training in the IT field, and eventually find rewarding work and dramatically improve the quality of life for her entire family.
- Matthew Joyce, a Marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq before medically retiring last year due to two reconstructive hip surgeries that still has him living with chronic pain. A 2014 Hyundai Elantra will provide reliable transportation for the family as Matthew works to obtain his degree for better job prospects and a better life for his family.
- Blake Maberry, a detention officer for the Rockwall Sheriff Department. Blake’s lack of reliable transportation left his family in desperate situation recently when their six-year-old son had a medical emergency and both their vehicles encountered breakdowns as they rushed to the hospital. Maberry was awarded a 2013 Honda Civic.
- Jim Tarbet, a Vietnam-era Special forces Green Beret, who had to give up his job to be a full-time caretaker for his wife of 50 years. Their one vehicle is unreliable so Jim, who is staunchly independent, declines rides and walks to the grocery store when he has to get food and prescriptions - even in the heat of the summer. He received a 2014 Nissan Sentra.
“Caliber Collision is a proud supporter of the many brave men and women who serve and protect us,” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Collision Chief Executive Officer. “They have carried the load for us, and now, in their time of need, it is our turn to give back and provide a helping hand for these families as they face unique challenges in their lives. We hope these gifts of reliable transportation will help restore these families to the rhythm of their lives.”
This is the third year that Caliber Collision has donated vehicles during the annual Carry The Load Memorial March events. This year represents the first year that Caliber Collision has accepted nominations for recipients from the general community.
In addition to donating the vehicles, Caliber Collision was a corporate sponsor of the Carry The Load Memorial March and National Relay. Caliber Collision team members nationwide also participated in the Carry The Load walks to raise additional funds to support their mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day.
In the past three years, Caliber Collision has donated more than 60 vehicles nationwide. Caliber plans to donate a minimum of 25 vehicles in 2015 to military service members, veterans and first responders as a way to give back to the communities that Caliber serves.