On March 23, the Charlotte, NC, Checkers teamed up with a group of corporate partners---GEICO, Caliber Collision, Keffer Hyundai and Veterans Bridge Home---to surprise a local Air Force veteran with a newly restored Hyundai Sonata during the second intermission.
Tech Sergeant Carissa Perry is in her 20th year in the military, including five in the Air Force and 15 in the Air National Guard, where she is currently active. Perry’s vehicle recently broke down, making it tough for her to find job opportunities and transport her daughter to her activities.
Even so, Perry continues to find time to volunteer at Veterans Bridge Home, which took notice and nominated her for the car donation.
“We’ve worked with Caliber Collision and the Checkers in the past, but we’ve never done anything this big or this special,” said Blake Bourne, executive director of Veterans Bridge Home. “We got to know Carissa and her family, and we knew she had some car trouble, so we reached out to Caliber Collision and said we had a veteran who is more than deserving. We wanted to make sure we did something special for Carissa, and the first thing we thought of was the Checkers, so we asked them to be a part of this. It was great to see everyone come together and align the community around someone that’s served our country.”
The donation is a part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program, with several different companies coming together to make the surprise come true.
“This is a program where GEICO partners with different providers country-wide,” said Jason Phelps of GEICO. “We always want to have a presence in our local communities and give back to veterans that have served so much, like Carissa. This process started months ago with Steve at Veteran’s Bridge Home and working with Caliber Collision and Keffer Hyundai. This has been in the works for a long time. We’re very happy that GEICO was able to do this locally because they have very strong ties to the military in the Charlotte community. I’m a veteran myself, so this is just outstanding that this could come together so well.”