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Four St. Louis vets receive refurbished vehicles

More than 100 NABC members, guests and collision repair industry leaders were on hand for the presentation

St. Louis—On Monday, Sept. 13, four St. Louis veterans were presented with four donated vehicles through the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program along with car donors Allstate, Farmers Insurance, GEICO and Travelers Insurance and repair partners Schaefer Autobody, Caliber Collision and Tech-Cor.

The presentation was held as part of the second annual NABC Pars for Cars Golf Fundraiser presented by Enterprise at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo. More than 100 NABC members, guests and collision repair industry leaders were on hand for the presentation.

“We are so honored to present four NABC Recycled Rides to these four deserving heroes,” said Clint Marlow, chairman of the NABC Board of Directors and Claims Director for Allstate. “We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. Working with our insurance members and collision repair partners, we’re proud to be able provide them and their families the gift of reliable transportation and independence.”

The four veterans were selected by the Joshua Chamberlain Society, a grass roots, 501(c)(3) federally tax-exempt charity that was formed with the mission of providing long term support to veterans from local areas that have sustained permanent combat injuries.

It also provides long-term support to the children of local veterans. Founded in St. Louis, it has now expanded into additional chapters serving the Nashville and Houston areas.

The four veterans receiving vehicles included:

  • Todd Nicely, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, received the Purple Heart and Navy Achievement Medal. He was severely injured in an explosive blast and lost all four limbs. He returned to the United States for treatment, surgeries and new prosthetic limbs. Today, he lives in Imperial, Mo., just outside of St. Louis with his family — wife Michelle and three children. Having reliable transportation would allow his family to be able to get to work, school and daily activities. They will receive a 2016 Kia Forte donated by Travelers Insurance and repaired by Schaefer Auto Body.
  • Tyler Huffman, who served in the U.S. Marine Corp, was deployed to Afghanistan. He suffered a spinal injury which left him a paraplegic, and now is retired with a medical discharge. With his wife and two young children, they live in Jefferson City, Mo. His wife works extra shifts as a nurse to help make ends meet, but drives an older, high-mileage vehicle 45 minutes each way to work. A reliable vehicle will provide her security on the road and help ensure their mobility and security as a family. He and his family will receive a 2015 Chevy Cruze LT donated by Farmers Insurance and repaired by Caliber Collision of Festus, Mo.
  • Chris Van Etten, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran who served in Afghanistan, was stationed as a rifleman  working with a bomb-sniffing dog, Harley. He was injured by an IED and lost both legs, and received a Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal for his bravery. After taking medical retirement, his Marine Corp friends worked to reunite him with Harley, who was also retired, to become his service dog. He and his wife have two young children, and the gift of reliable transportation would allow him the independence to work and help take care of his family. They will receive a 2015 Toyota Corolla donated by donated by Allstate and repaired by Tech-Cor.
  • Legrand Strickland, who retired from the U.S. Army as a sergeant, served in Afghanistan and received two U.S. Army commendation medals, a Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman badge, Parachutist badge and Air Assault badge. He enlisted in the military after high school, and then went on to college, where he earned his degree in graphic design. He returned to the U.S. Army and was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 82nd Airborne. Strickland was injured in an IED explosion, losing his legs and suffering a traumatic brain injury. Today, his wife works full time and his sons help support the family. The gift of reliable transportation would make it possible for the family to continue to work and care for each other. He will be presented a 2013 VW Jetta donated by GEICO and repaired by Schaefer Auto Body of Columbia, Mo.

NABC Recycled Rides is a program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the NABC Recycled Rides program in 2007, members of the National Auto Body Council have donated more than 2,750 vehicles valued at more than $38.5 million.

Additional partners in the NABC Recycled Rides presentation include 1-800 Charity Cars.

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