Gus Trevena, owner of Downtown Autobody in Rohnert Park, was voted the Rotary Club Business Volunteer of the Year last year for his contributions to the local community.
The Community Voice
Like many other local business owners, Trevena donates gift certificates to be raffled or auctioned off for fundraising events supporting local schools and youth organizations. Although his business deals mostly with post-accident vehicle repairs, the gift certificates cover a free detailing – a service normally not provided at Downtown Autobody. A detailing includes having the carpets cleaned, windows cleaned, the interior redone and the outside and bumpers waxed; up to a $350 value. He typically donates about six of these certificates every year.
However, Trevena has also been known to donate paint jobs for vehicles that serve the local community. His most recent project was painting the Rancho Cotate High School band’s trailer that is used to transport the band’s instruments to performances. A few years ago, Trevena repainted the Sonoma County Book Mobile, a portable library that gives books to local children in underprivileged schools. He’s also responsible for painting the Senior Van, a shuttle that transports senior citizens around town.
“Sometimes a business is in a better place to help a youth organization than you and I are as individuals,” said Trevena. “I think it’s kind of everybody’s responsibility ultimately to do what they can.”
Gerard Giudice, longtime friend/business associate of Trevena and owner of Sally Tomatoes, says that Trevena spends much of his free time putting in volunteer work for the local parks. This includes, but is not limited to, maintaining the baseball fields and cleaning up graffiti. Guidice says that Trevena also provides car restorations for local car shows, such as the one on Founder’s Day.
‘Nicest guy in RP’
“Gus is the nicest guy in Rohnert Park,” said Giudice. “He would give you the shirt off his back; he has for me many times. Any time my Rotary Club needs something done, he’s the first to step up…The local parks would not be in as good a condition as they are without him.”
According to Giudice, he and Trevena have a business arrangement where the two of them offer special perks to one another’s employees. If an employee at Sally Tomatoes needs to get their car repaired, but can’t afford to get it done, Trevena will do it for free. Many of these employees have been single mothers and struggling students. Likewise, if any of Trevena’s employees at Downtown Autobody have a major life event, like a wedding, Giudice will rent out his event space at a reduced rate.
Trevena also serves as the current president of the Cal Ripken Youth Baseball League. He’s responsible for managing the league’s 64 teams as well as maintaining the fields and making sure all the kids are registered and uniformed. He got involved with the Cal Ripken League when his kids started playing and has served as the president for four years.
“From my perspective, it’s important to support him (Trevena),” said Guidice. “He’s got a lot of competitors, but he gives so much to the community that we all need to help keep him in business.”
Strong SSU Supporter
In addition to his other charitable contributions, Trevena is also an active supporter of Sonoma State University athletics and helps contribute to the university’s athletic scholarship fund.
He’s also been named the number one sponsor for Love in a Shoebox from 2009-13. This organization collects hygiene products and gifts to distribute to Sonoma County homeless and foster children during the holiday season.
“It’s the right thing to do, it’s our responsibility, but it’s also good for business,” said Trevena. “It all comes full-circle.”
Guidice believes that the neighborhood would be at a loss without generous spirits like Trevena donating their time and energy into building a strong sense of community in the local Rohnert Park, Cotati, Penngrove area.
We would like to thank The Community Voice for allowing Autobody News to reprint their article.