Editor's Note: Here's a look at Nanuet Collision Center's Recycled Ride Program last year.
Nanuet Collision Centers, Allstate Insurance, Charity Cars, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9215 Upper Nyack gifted two vehicles to a local veteran and a disabled veteran as part of its Recycled Rides™ project on Thursday.
Zubair Mahaiudin and Roman Johnson are the recipients this year. Mahaiudin is a handicapped veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2008 during his service with the Marine Corp from 2006 - 2010. He was honorably medically discharged.
"I was so surprised. I can now get around and getting to school is the main thing I'm grateful for," said Mahaiudin. “It’s amazing. I’ll be able to do anything. I really appreciate it. (This) has provided me with freedom."
Johnson, from Monsey, is a Polish American that has served in two armys. He served in the Polish army because it was mandatory in that country. After he came over to the U.S., he served in the U.S. army in the 90s during desert storm.
“I'm so happy. It's a gift I never expected. I’m so shocked. This is the best country in the world. They don’t help their veterans in Poland like they do here,” said Johnson. “Here, veterans get so much more assistance.”
"It's a hand up, not a hand down," said Guy Gebbia, former Commander of the VFW Post 9215. "Think about living in this area having no car. Things we take for granted, getting to work, to the grocery store, visiting family. This is such a wonderful program. The motto of the VFW is, honor the dead by helping the living."
"We got together, took a damaged car, a totaled out car and put it back together in almost-pristine condition and give it to someone who needs a vehicle," said Kevin Muir President of Nanuet Collision Centers. "I'm really honored and feel blessed I can participate in something like this and give something back to the community."
Mahaiudin received a 2000 Mazda MPV, which came with a wheelchair lift when it was donated by Charity Cars. Johnson received a 2007 Nissan Maxima SE, which was donated by Allstate.
VFW Post 9215 picks out the veterans for this worthy cause.
Gebbia added that there are certain qualifications because it it need-based, such as, the veterans must be upstanding, have a good driving record, honorable discharge, etc ... The cars are donated to the VFW. After it goes to the VFW's name, Gebbia then signs it over to the veterans.
Nanuet Collision received the cars about a year ago, the Mazda in July, 28 2011 and the Nissan December, 2 2011. Since then, Muir and his staff have put in extra volunteer hours to refurbish the vehicles.
Muir is also a member of the Nanuet Rotary, which has supported the Recycled Rides program since the beginning.
“We’ve given money to help fray the expenses for refurbishing the cars and are giving both veterans gas cards,” said Donna Lennane, president of the Nanuet Rotary.
The rotary also provided refreshments and food at the gifting celebration. Muir also donated gas cards to the both veterans, which he received from an anonymous non profit.
Dave Davidowicz of Four Star Automotive in Tallman offered free servicing for both vehicles and approached Muir with an offer to help out in any way, shape or form for future Recycled Rides efforts.
Mahaiudin is from Long Island. In 9 days, a dozen cars are being gifted to veterans by the VFW Post 4927 in Long Island and the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association, said Dennis Sullivan, member of that VFW.
Nanuet Collision Centers is part of the National Auto Body Council™ (NABC). Recycled Rides is a community awareness project whereby members of the NABC repair and donate refurbished vehicles to families and service organizations in need throughout the United States.
A “green” program, ‘Recycled Rides’ recruits auto body shops, insurers, paint suppliers, and parts vendors to contribute in their own specific ways. The program has gifted over ~500 vehicles since its inception in 2009.
The cars for this years event have been donated by Allstate Insurance and Charity Cars. Allstate and Charity Cars have been strong supporters of Recycled Rides Program nationwide.
"Our participation in the Recycled Rides program is an extension of Allstate's commitment to local communities. It is an honor for us to be able to provide reliable transportation to a local veteran family that needs to get to a job, doctor's appointment or other places they couldn't go without a reliable vehicle,” said Allstate’s spokesperson Jaclyn Darrohn.