Western Nevada College News & Notes: Student veteran to receive refurbished car

It took just one overjoyed and appreciative car recipient last Christmas for Western Nevada College to extend its association with the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides project.

After the resounding success of WNC’s first Recycled Rides vehicle donation during the Christmas holidays, the college’s Auto Body Technology department is repairing its second vehicle for donation this summer. The public is invited to attend the car presentation at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, at WNC’s E.L. Cord Technology Center on the Carson City Campus.

This time, WNC will create a patriotic theme in preparing a refurbished 2006 GMC Envoy for presentation to a student veteran on Independence Day.

For the second time, State Farm Insurance has agreed to donate a vehicle to Recycled Rides for WNC to restore.

WNC President Chester Burton said that in the college’s new alliance with NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala and the Recycled Rides project, many benefits have already been recognized.

“The college is involved in the Recycled Rides project because it is a win-win for the college and the community,” Burton said. “The students in the automotive program learn while they are involved in repairing the vehicles. Then, the vehicles are donated to an individual or a family in the community that has demonstrated a need for a car. Many of these vehicles would be destined for the junkyard without the program. Instead of being scrapped, they are repaired to a very high quality and back on the road, where they can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Plans are for WNC to award restored vehicles to individuals or families on the Fourth of July and Veterans Day annually. In that way, students, instructors and other community members should have ample time to restore and make the vehicles safe during classes in the fall, spring and summer.

“For the future, I see WNC working with Recycled Rides to obtain the donated vehicles and complete three to four vehicles a year in conjunction with the program,” said Burton, who dedicated 20 years of his professional career to the U.S. Navy, including working as a Naval Supply Officer at the Naval Air Station Fallon. “New opportunities are presenting themselves with Recycled Rides to obtain vehicles that will be donated to the program specifically for donation to veterans. This, along with education, is another avenue the college can follow as we assist veterans in making the transition from military to civilian life.”

A college committee selected the recipient, complementing what has already been done for veterans over the past several years.

“It goes to show you that WNC has worked tirelessly to support vets in the community, solidifying its role as the most vet-friendly school in Nevada,” said veteran Timothy Galluzi, a former president of the college Student Veterans Club who now serves as a pre-admissions adviser for WNC’s Veterans Resource Center. “It feels good that on a patriotic holiday we can reward fellow vets in such a way.”

Increasing community involvement in the Recycled Rides projects has become one of WNC’s objectives, providing multiple people and businesses with the opportunity to participate in a philanthropic project.

Last December, the college refurbished a 2009 Cobalt for a Carson City single mother of three.

In the previous project, WNC auto body instructors Dennis Marshall and Mark Leonard performed most of the work restoring the Cobalt, but they also received assistance from students Donny McKay, Alex Garic, James Dempsey, Bob Andreasen, Austin Lambert and Michael Atkinson.

“I think it’s a great idea and it’s heartwarming to help someone out with transportation, especially a veteran, because I’m a veteran myself,” said Marshall, who served as a mechanic in the seventh infantry of the U.S. Army.

WNC’s David Steiger and Sulkala collaborated to create classes through Continuing Education specifically to work on the Recycled Rides project. Recycled Rides is carefully watching this new program that it has titled the “WNC model” for future use in other educational institutions.

Recycled Rides has restored more than 1,000 vehicles nationally in the NABC program’s eight years of existence. The program commonly accepts vehicles three to eight years old with less than 100,000 miles from rental car companies, insurance companies and auto auctions. Through the generous efforts of collision repair shops or college programs, parts vendors, paint suppliers and others, the donated vehicles are refurbished. The nonprofit program seeks out people lacking reliable transportation so they can meet the demands of their work schedules, shuttling their children to school, going grocery shopping and making medical visits.


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