By Michelle Talsma Everson
Photos Courtesy of Sunn West City’s Auto Body
In the spirit of giving back to those who have given so much to our country, Sunn West City’s Auto Body (SWC) recently worked with USAA and the National Auto Body Council (NABC) in a national effort to provide vehicles to military families in need of transportation.
As part of their 100-year anniversary celebration, USAA is gifting 100 vehicles across the country to veterans and their families. They are doing this in partnership with the NABC Recycled Rides program, where 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, according to the NABC. To reach the 100-car goal, 10 cars are being given away at 10 different events happening nationwide. On Oct. 6, 10 cars were given away locally, and SWC was one of the auto repair shops that participated in this charitable effort.
“We [SWC] were the only family owned and operated shop in the Arizona market to be part of this event. That made it seem very special to us as small business owners,” says Cindy Gray, who, alongside her husband Patrick Gray, has owned Sunn West City’s Auto Body for three years.
Gray explains that this is the shop’s first year participating in the Recycled Rides program and that their team happily donated their time, labor, and supplies to fix up a vehicle for a military family in need of safe, reliable transportation.
“We employ a lot of veterans, and it means a lot to us to give back to those who have given so much,” Gray says.
“USAA is committed to giving back to those who have gone above and beyond by means of service to our country,” says Ramon Lopez, vice president, USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Company. “We are honored to provide reliable transportation to 100 families in our 100th year, and beyond, as we continue to transform the lives of those most in need by providing them with dependable vehicles.”
Gray adds that local businesses Desert Dent Removal and Exclusively Imports were involved in the vehicle restoration. Area business Honey Doo Plumbing donated a gift card to the gift basket given to the receiving family as well, she adds.
“We hope that this vehicle impacts the family who received it in a positive way,” Gray says. “We hope it relieves their stress and helps them to remember that they are valued members of our community, and we are thankful for their service and sacrifice.”
Gray adds that giving back is important to her and her husband Patrick as small business owners. “The community is supportive of us as a small shop, so we want to make sure to give back whenever we can,” she says.