In honor of Veterans Day, Western Nevada College presented one Army vet with a car to thank him for his service.
Joseph Davis Alton III, an 8 year U.S. Army veteran of the 3rd Infantry Division, and his family were given a newly restored 2007 Hyundai Sonata by the college.
This is the third year WNC has partnered with Recycled Rides, a National Auto Body Council program that restores and gives vehicles to deserving persons. The program works with technical colleges, such as WNC, insurance companies, auto body shops, and vendors to repair damaged vehicles for these deserving persons. State Farm Insurance donated a “totaled” car to WNC, where student mechanics in the automotive collision and repair classes repaired it to original working condition for the vet. Businesses from around Carson City donated materials and supplies to the class to fix the car.
A ceremony was held Wednesday morning at the E.L. Cord Technology Center at WNC, where a representative from Recycled Rides, State Farm and the WNC president spoke to nearly two dozen people.
“It is totally appropriate that we are here today to recognize a veteran,” said WNC President Chester Burton, who also served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. “We aren’t just giving away a car because everyone who is a vet has given so much and sacrificed so much. That can never be down played.”
Burton spoke about the history of Veterans Day, when World War I, the war to end all wars, ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November.
He said they chose Alton as the recipient because they were looking for people who give back to Carson City and who should be rewarded for that.
With Burton, Kevin Burns, WNC’s Veterans Resource Center coordinator and Master of Ceremony, and Clay Murray, a Carson City State Farm insurance agent, who are both veterans, spoke about the importance of being able to do something so small for someone who has given a lot to his country.
“You come from an astute and respected branch of the military,” Murray said. “First and foremost, thank you for your service. It is the least we can do at State Farm and WNC is to give you a car. I don’t know of a more deserving family for this.”
Alton, who was a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom during the initial surge into Baghdad, served in the Army from 1996 to 2004. Recently, he graduated from WNC last year with a degree in welding technology, but planned to re-enroll in the spring to pursue a different field. While at the college, Alton was a huge component in the creation of the Student Veterans Club on campus and served as the treasurer and vice president as well as a peer mentor for the Veterans Resource Center.
“It feels really good (to be getting the car),” Alton said.
Alton said when they first were deciding who to give the car to, they had called him asking a lot of questions, but didn’t tell him what the questions were for.
“My wife and I didn’t know what was going on and then they called us back and told us we won the car,” the father of three said. “We were very happy because the one vehicle we had wasn’t reliable anymore.”
Alton’s wife and two of their kids were at the ceremony, where another former Recycled Rides recipient, Michael Atkinson, handed Alton the keys to his new car.