On Dec. 18, four families received vehicles from Mike’s Auto Body, with more than 200 people in attendance at its Antioch, CA location. The crowd was made up of representatives from insurance companies, vendors and other community leaders, as well as reporters from several TV networks and local newspapers, as they celebrated this emotional presentation.
Every year, the collision repair industry comes across cars that are “written off” by owners or insurance companies as total losses. The existence of these cars prompted Mike Rose to get involved in a National Benevolence program, a community relations program that presents refurbished cars to deserving people or organizations during the holidays. After several years of participating in the national program, the Rose family decided to make it their own and since 2001, Mike’s Auto Body has given away a total of 44 cars and vans to families and organizations in need, according to Sal Contreras, sales and marketing director at Mike’s Auto Body.
“This program has become something the entire company anticipates every year and the work that goes into it starts almost right after we finish the previous one,” Contreras said. “It’s truly a team effort and every tech at Mike’s Auto Body that works on one of these vehicles has donated their time. So everyone here gets a chance to contribute and be a part of our Benevolence program.”
After receiving 150-200 letters every year in which applicants explain why they need a vehicle, only four were selected in 2013, Contreras said. “It’s a difficult process, because every year we discover that more and more people really need cars just to live their lives. We’ve received approximately 2,000 letters during the 13 years we’ve been doing this, and it’s always hard making these decisions. It’s also very moving and special when we call the recipients to tell them they’re getting a car. To me, that is the most satisfying part.”
Owner Mike Rose is proud to help people in need, as well as the local community and the collision industry as a whole. “This program has grown every year and more and more people get involved,” Rose said. “The holiday season is a perfect time to give back, and through our Benevolence program, we’re able to do amazing things. The Rose family and all of our employees and business partners value this opportunity to help deserving families, because we all realize that reliable transportation can positively impact their lives in so many different ways.”
The four recipients of refurbished vehicles this year were:
Susan A. Greene is a single mother of 15-year-old twin boys with special needs and was having difficulty transporting her boys to their appointments without a vehicle--until now. A paraprofessional for the Oakley School District, Greene could only take substituting positions due to her lack of transportation. She received a 2010 Honda Accord, donated by CSAA and the techs from Mike Auto Body’s Pittsburg location donated their time to refurbishing the car.
Ebony Berry is a military wife and mother of two whose husband has been serving in the military for 12 years now. He is a Specialist in the Army National Guard currently deployed to Afghanistan for one year with the 1113th Transportation Unit. Due to financial difficulties caused by an error with her husband’s military allotment, Ebony was forced to seek help with her bills from the Red Cross, the Blue Star Mom’s and other charities. She received a 2008 Toyota Corolla, donated by Mercury Insurance and refurbished with help from the techs at the Mike’s Auto Body in Concord on Fremont Street.
The third recipient is Sequoia Stanley, who was laid off from her job early in 2013 and had several mechanical problems with her current vehicle. Without a reliable car to look for work or deliver her children to and from school, Sequoia spent endless hours on public transportation. But, she never gave up and eventually landed a job at Diablo Valley College, where she motivates and assists low-income students through a federally funded program called Educational Talent Search. Stanley received a 2005 Chevrolet Classic, donated by Farmers Insurance and refurbished with help from the techs at the Mike’s Auto Body in on North Broadway in Walnut Creek.
The final recipient of a vehicle as part of 2013’s Mike’s Auto Body’s 2013 Benevolence program is Suzanne Hill. A few months ago, Suzanne was a victim of a life-threatening changing experience, which left her and her family without any transportation. Her car was destroyed on this horrific day, but her inner strength kept her keeping on. Hill’s husband, who is recovering from major back surgery and her four children have been extremely supportive of her and Hill is intently focused on making a better life for her family. Now with a “nearly new” vehicle, Suzanne has the freedom and peace of mind to do exactly that. She received a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica van, donated by Nationwide Insurance and refurbished with help from the techs at the Mike’s Auto Body in Antioch.
Fixing cars to their pre-accident condition since 1972, Mike Rose and his family has built Mike’s Auto Body into a 12-shop organization known for its honesty and integrity with an emphasis on exemplary customer service. With two locations in Concord and Walnut Creek and one in Lafayette, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Richmond, Fairfield Napa and now in San Ramon, Mike’s Auto Body is well-known for being an outstanding business partner in every city where it serves the public.