Two residents of Paradise, California, recently experienced a life-changing event when they received vehicles to provide them reliable transportation following the massive wildfires that destroyed the region.
The vehicles were courtesy of the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) Recycled Rides program, as well as Esurance, Duane’s Body Shop and Fabian’s Collision Center. The presentation took place at the Paradise police station.
“We greatly value our long-standing relationship with NABC Recycled Rides, which has allowed us to give back to community members in need,” said Eric Brandt, chief claims officer, Esurance. “As a California-based company, the wildfires that devastated Paradise hit particularly close to home. It’s tough to imagine the immense loss that Mr. Gates and Mr. Pickett experienced, but we hope that the vehicles we gifted them are a positive step in the right direction.”
Paradise Police Department officer Matthew Gates, who worked tirelessly through the wildfires, received a 2016 Subaru Impreza that was donated by Esurance and restored at Duane’s Body Shop in Sacramento. Gates, along with his two young sons, lost his home and car in the wildfire, leaving him without reliable transportation for his family. His newly restored vehicle will allow Gates to get to work and take care of his family.
“I’m so honored to be nominated for this and to receive this car,” Gates said. “What a difference this will make to my life with my boys. It will help me get them to school and me to work, which has been a challenge as we’ve been displaced from Paradise to a new community.”
Paradise resident Billy Pickett, who lost his belongings in his rental housing in the fire, received a 2014 Nissan Rogue that was donated by Esurance and restored by Fabian’s Collision Center in Stockton. A reliable vehicle will allow Pickett to find a new job and get back on his feet.
“I really can’t believe this. I’m so emotional right now,” said Pickett. “It’s so hard to find a job when you don’t have transportation, so this will help me find a new job and have reliable transportation to get there. I’m so ready to get back to work and I have a couple of great opportunities to follow up on now that I can get there.”
Contributing partners on the program were Maita Subaru, Pacific Rims Inc., Sanctioned Motor Sports and 800 Charity Cars.
“We are honored to be able to partner with Esurance, Duane’s Body Shop and Fabian’s Collision Center to present these vehicles to these two deserving recipients,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of the National Auto Body Council. “We all saw the news coverage of this disastrous fire and heard the stories of those impacted. We are proud to be able do our part to help with the recovery efforts.”
NABC Recycled Rides is a unique 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 Recycled Rides program in 2007, members of the National Auto Body Council have donated more than 2,000 vehicles valued at more than $36 million.