Amber Wade, a geology student at LTCC who spent four years in the Marine Corps, won a refurbished SUV thanks to a donation by State Farm and the efforts of Recycled Rides, a national group of volunteers who repair and donate vehicles to veterans and other individuals in need.
All of LTCC's student-veterans were invited to write an essay describing what owning a car would mean to them, and the staff of the school's Veterans Resource Center selected Wade's piece.
Wade's partner, LTCC alumni and Marine Corp veteran Nick Aguilar, was at the ceremony on May 26 to accept the prize on her behalf. The couple has a 14-month-old daughter named Olive.
"Amber was speechless when she found out," said Aguilar, who works as a firefighter and EMT in El Dorado County. "Things like this don't really happen to either of us."
"It's definitely going to change things for the better," continued Aguilar. "I feel like these great people have reached out and helped a family that is in need, and we look forward to potentially giving back down the road. I know Amber feels the same way. We are very thankful and appreciative."
Since the National Auto Body Council's Recycled Rides program launched in 2007, more than 1,000 vehicles have been donated for repairs and ultimately given to deserving individuals and organizations throughout the country.
Thank you to The Tahoe Daily Tribune for reprint permission.