GUNN COLLISION, USAA® & ALLSTATE® SHARE THE LOVE WITH THREE DESERVING MILITARY FAMILIES
Refurbished Vehicles Given To Military Heroes In Treatment in San Antonio in Conjunction with National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides® Program.
SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 14, 2020) - Today, on St. Valentine’s Day, three military families, surrounded by friends and military supporters truly felt the love of the automotive community and experienced a life-changing event – the gift of refurbished vehicles. This gift provides them independence, a way to get to work and medical appointments and the ability to take care of their families – thanks to Gunn Collision and car donors USAA® and Allstate® along with the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides® partners AXALTA® Coating Systems, Dents & Dings, FinishMaster® and 1-800-Charity Cars.
“Our founder “Pop” Gunn served with the 13th Armored Division during World War II as a Lt. Colonel under General Patton and he was a Bronze Star recipient. Curtis C. Gunn, Jr., a Navy Lieutenant served as the Navigator and Operations Officer on the USS Boyd,” said Sean Gunn, CEO, Gunn Automotive Group. “Currently, the Gunn Automotive Group collectively employs more than 50 former servicemen and women and reservists. We truly appreciate our military and their families for the many sacrifices they make so we can live in a free country, and we are honored to provide these three military families with dependable transportation.”
The deserving recipients were selected by the Texas Chapter of Wish For Our Heroes, a nonprofit organization that helps our military, both active duty and veterans to meet every day needs such as food, clothing and transportation.
Today’s recipients include: • Army SGT. Mitchell Boteler, an 11-year veteran who served three tours in Iraq. SGT Boteler is a single parent of two boys, ages 7 and 9. He needs transportation to go to his scheduled VA appointments, and the boys attend after school tutoring daily and need weekly counseling, which is not close to where they live. This gift means no more taking the bus for a simple errand such as grabbing a gallon of milk on the way home. The 2018 Nissan Altima, donated by USAA, is valued at $15,500, and is the perfect car to get his family where they need to go. • Army Veteran CPL. Jacob Crowell is hospitalized in a local polytrauma unit. In 2019, after many years of suffering with severe PTSD, CPL Crowell attempted suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot. He has traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is in a semiconscious state. His wife, Mary, and their three children, ages 7, 10 & 11 months have been staying at Fisher House San Antonio while he is in treatment. Their current car is nonoperational and the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, donated by USAA, valued at $17,400, will provide them with reliable transportation and make an incredible difference in their quality of life. • U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dontai Marcus is active duty serving in the 35th Intelligence Squadron at Lackland AFB. He is currently living in the barracks which is a 10-mile round trip to work, and he depends on friends for transportation. Originally from the downtown Chicago area, he was dependent on public transportation which is why he did not have a car. Simple things like going to the grocery store, apartment hunting and medical appointments are huge stressors. He will soon be forced to move off base due to the amount of time he has been in the service. This move will increase his commute drastically and end his ability to carpool with co-workers. The 2017 VW Jetta, donated by Allstate, valued at $11,840 will be a tremendous help to him as he moves off base.
Gunn Collision joined forces with financial services company USAA® and insurance carrier Allstate®, who generously donated the three vehicles.
“It is an honor to join forces with Gunn Collision, Allstate® and USAA® to present reliable transportation to three deserving military families,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of the National Auto Body Council®. “Thank you to USAA® and Allstate® for donating these vehicles and to the team at Gunn Collision for refurbishing them. Through the NABC Recycled Rides® Program, we are collectively changing and saving lives every day.”
USAA® donated both the 2018 Nissan Altima and the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Allstate® donated the 2017 VW Jetta. Each car was carefully selected making sure the mechanics of the vehicle were in great shape. All needed substantial body and interior work.
“At USAA®, we’re passionate about taking care of our military service members, veterans, and their families,” said Luke Harris, assistant vice president of Innovation at USAA®. “Partnering with Gunn Collision on this program helps demonstrate our deep appreciation for the military community while recognizing the sacrifices of service to our great nation.”
“Giving back to the communities we serve is at the heart of everything we do at Allstate®, and we are humbled by their service to our country and are honored to share this gift with such deserving military families,” said Rick Mattes, Allstate® Claims Service Leader. “We are thankful for Gunn Collision, Wish for Our Heroes and our autobody partners at Recycled Rides® who have made this life-changing moment possible for these incredible heroes and their families.”
Other partners, including Axalta® Coating Systems and Dents & Dings, donated hundreds of manhours to bring these damaged cars back to their former beauty. Two of the vehicles had extreme hail damage and the team at Dents & Dings worked around the clock to get these cars ready on time. “The Dents & Dings family is honored and a privileged to help our heroes who have served and are in need,” said Luke Casillas, president, Dents & Dings. “We do this to show our respect and appreciation for their sacrifice. We are always here to help our heroes.”
Once the exterior body work was complete, FinishMaster® provided the finishing touch, a new paint job. “Partnering with the Gunn Group and Recycled Rides® to give back to people who have given so much for our way of life is an honor and a privilege,” said Richard Cordray, sales manager, FinishMaster® “Thank you to Recycled Rides®, the Gunn Automotive Group and most of all to our very deserving American Heroes who continue to protect our American way of life.”
1-800 Charity Cars provided the necessary titling and legal paperwork to transfer ownership of the vehicles. The three families received their free and clear titles and keys and drove their new vehicles home.