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Friday, 19 June 2015 00:00

Automotive Students in Downingtown, PA Donate Refurbished Vehicles to Veterans

Two veterans each received a free vehicle that was refurbished by high school students.

Students in the automotive collision technology program at the Technical College High School (TCHS) Brandywine and Pennock’s Bridge Campuses recently donated two refurbished vehicles to families in need as part of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides program.

Technical College High School (TCHS) Brandywine Campus students in the Automotive Collision Technology program restored two cars that were donated to veterans in need on May 9, 2015 as part of the Recycled Rides program.

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The mission of the Recycled Rides program is “to collaborate, to repair and donate vehicles to deserving individuals and service organizations in local communities throughout the country.”

Since 2007, auto body and collision shops have worked with Recycled Rides to give away close to 1,000 cars.

This spring, students in the Auto Collision Technology program have gained experience by restoring a 2009 Toyota Avalon and a 2009 Mercury Mountaineer. The cars were donated to the program by Geico Insurance. TCHS Brandywine and Pennock’s Bridge students worked with 3D Collision Centers and Keenan Auto Collision to repair the cars. The cars were then donated to United States Armed Services veterans who have fallen on hard times.

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The first recipient, Christopher Fauntleroy, is a single father who served with the Army Special Services for 15 years. He left the service to help care for his disabled mother. After moving to Phoenixville to raise his daughter, he has held steady employment, but has struggled to afford reliable transportation. Fauntleroy was recently was promoted at his job with a Sunoco Mini-Mart for his hard work. Fauntleroy’s daughter, an artist, plans to attend college.

“I have been helping her with college applications and taken her to visit Maryland Institute College of Art for a college visit and portfolio review,” said Kathy Bestwick, the Executive Director of the Phoenix Village Art Center, who nominated the family for this opportunity. “I want so much for both of them to be successful and for them to get the break they need to get back on their feet.”

The other Recycled Rides recipient is an Army veteran who was deployed a total of four times. He served three tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He, too, works and resides in Chester County, but has struggled financially. His name was not released.The vehicles were gifted at a ceremony on May 9, during the 2015 Auto Collision Experience (ACE) Spotlight held at TCHS Brandywine.

All of the Auto Collision Technology students at TCHS Brandywine and Pennock’s Bridge campuses helped to repair one of the two cars in preparation for the gifting ceremony. The Recycled Rides program was brought to TCHS by instructor Mark Serfass. He said his goal is to see this community program grow at more high schools where students can give back to others.

“This program is really special. One of the biggest gains for the school are the partnerships that develop from it,” Serfass said. “All of the TCHS instructors work with their students to not only teach them a trade, but to be a good community member and to give back. If we can teach this to 100 students and they teach the importance of giving to another 100 students, just think what that can do.”

The ACE Spotlight event featured demonstrations and workshops in addition to the Recycled Rides gifting ceremonies.For more information about ACE Spotlight visit www.autocollisionexperience.org.

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We would like to thank Daily Local News for permission to reprint this article.

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