The two veterans were honored at the Long Island Ducks Baseball Stadium during the 6:35 p.m. game on August 4 during the annual Military Appreciation Night.
U.S. Navy Veteran Christopher Russel and U.S. Marine Veteran Mark Davis, both Suffolk County residents, were struggling to do their daily tasks without a vehicle. Getting to work, going to doctor’s appointments, seeing family and having the freedom they deserve was difficult without a working vehicle. Davis and Russel were each given a vehicle at the Long Island Ducks Game during the sixth inning, where fans and spectators rose and gave the two veterans a standing ovation during the presentation of the keys. Davis, who was nominated by the Veterans of Foreign War, received a 2014 Toyota Corolla.
After the ceremony, he said, “I just can’t stop smiling; thank you so much.”
The Economic Opportunity Council –Suffolk nominated Russel in hopes the vehicle would help him cut down on his two-hour commute to work on his bike. He was gifted a 2009 Honda CRV.
The cars were donated through the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) Recycled Rides Program, which ensures deserving citizens without safe and operational vehicles have cars or vans that meet their needs and the needs of their families.
Joe Amodei, Recycled Rides co-chair, NABC board member and president of The Collision Centers is proud of the organizations’ years-long work to honor and support America’s veterans and their families.
“It is important for us as a community to come together and support our military members. If we can help them get back on the road, their opportunities open greatly. They give up so much that this is a small thank you to them,” Amodei said.
The Recycled Rides Program creates an opportunity for the collision industry to come together with like-minded organizations to raise awareness and offer support to those who need and deserve it most. Many are involved in the granting of these vehicles, including The Collision Centers, GEICO, Apple Honda, Keystone Auto Parts, Phoenix Auto Glass, Elite Towing, Kemperle Paint, Sunrise Toyota and Driving 4 Change Foundation. The program brings people together to make a positive change for others.
Being without a vehicle is very difficult; even the smallest of tasks can seem challenging. As it will for the veteran recipients, Recycled Rides plays an important role in getting people back on the road, but, more importantly, it helps open doors to better opportunities, to enriched quality of life and to increased self-esteem.
August 4th’s Recycled Rides event is one of many being held nationwide as a part of the NABC.