For three years, Nanuet Collision Centers has participated in Recycled Rides, a “Green” gifting program that donates a repaired vehicle to a disabled veteran. The members of Nanuet Collision put in their own time and money to repair the vehicle that will provide both the veteran and his family with a means of transportation.
“It’s very gratifying to be able to do this and help somebody out, especially a veteran,” said Kevin Muir, president of Nanuet Collision. “They put themselves in harm’s way for our freedom, so that we could live in this country.”
Muir emphasized that the donated vehicle is a “hand-up,” not a handout, and he added that the donation “feels like you’re giving something back to the people who give so much of themselves.”
Recycled Rides is managed by the NABC (National Autobody Council), a non-for-profit organization that works to improve the image of the automotive repair industry. The NABC is composed of insurance companies, vendors, and body shops—each of which take part in Recycled Rides. Insurance companies donate the damaged vehicles that body shops repair, with vendors such as STS Tires donating auto parts.
The Upper Nyack VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) selects the veterans who receive the repaired vehicles.
“It was a blessing to have an automobile donated to our VFW so we could help a fellow veteran,” said Commander Guy Gebbia. “Having a local business like Nanuet Collision Centers step up and help one who served our country honorably is a tremendous commitment. The shop’s staff is putting a lot of effort and pride into refurbishing this vehicle; they should be applauded.”
This year, Upper Nyack VFW chose Thomas Kelly, a partially disabled Vietnam veteran.
“Having a good working vehicle will help me and my family toward a more normal life,” said Kelly.
“Thomas has numerous family obligations and having a reliable vehicle will provide a sense of relief that transportation will not be a barrier,” said JoAnn Duffy, Recycled Rides Coordinator for NABC.
This year’s vehicle was an SUV that had been declared a total loss, meaning that its damage exceeded the value of its repair. Nanuet Collision received the vehicle on June 25, and it has taken them ten months to repair it. The shop has done body work on the front, back, and right side of the vehicle, as well as fix the fuel lines and brakes. They have also done electrical work, paperwork, quality control, and safety checks to ensure that the vehicle is working properly.
While Nanuet Collision hasn’t taken much donations, they do appreciate contributions. Money for gas cards or car insurance is most important, with whatever’s left over going to the vehicle’s recipient. They also accept auto parts that they’ll need to repair their next Recycled Rides vehicle.
“Nanuet Collision Centers is committed to serving the local community,” said Muir. “After the positive experience last year in gifting a vehicle to one of our local veterans, there was no question that we would participate again. Our staff and vendors were very eager to participate in this key initiative for the auto body industry.”
The recipient of last year’s vehicle was a partially disabled Marine. When Muir ran into him two months ago, the Marine thanked him and said that the vehicle had helped change his life. He could now go to work and take his four-month-old baby to doctor’s appointments without having to rely on public transportation.
“Our participation in the Recycled Rides program is an extension of Allstate’s commitment to our local communities,” said Krista Conte, New York Allstate spokesperson. “These cars represent more than a way to get around, but a way to empower families and charities to accomplish simple tasks impossible without reliable transportation.”
Nanuet Collision will present the repaired vehicle to Kelly in a gifting ceremony at 1 p.m. May 6 at Nanuet Collision Centers on 417 Route 59 in Monsey. The ceremony is open to the public. Local politicians and members of the Marine Corps will also be in attendance.