On St. Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, 2020, three military families, surrounded by friends and military supporters truly felt the love of the San Antonio 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 financial services company USAA® and insurance carrier Allstate® along with the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides® partners AXALTA® Coating Systems, Dents & Dings, FinishMaster® and 1-800-Charity Cars.
Gunn Auto’s founder “Pop” Gunn served with the 13th Armored Division during World War II as a Lt. Colonel under General George S. Patton and was a Bronze Star recipient. His son, Curtis C. Gunn, Jr., was a Navy Lieutenant, Navigator and Operations Officer on the USS Joseph Boyd. Currently, the Gunn Automotive Group collectively employs more than 50 former servicemen, women and reservists.
The 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.
The Boteler Story
Army SGT. Mitchell Boteler is an 11-year veteran who served three tours in Iraq and is 100% medically disabled. As a single parent of two boys, ages 7 and 9 he needed transportation to go to his scheduled VA appointments, and to get the boys to daily tutoring and 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.
The Crowell Story
In 2019, after years of suffering with severe PTSD, Army Veteran CPL. Jacob Crowell attempted suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot. He is currently in a polytrauma unit with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is in a semiconscious state. His wife, Mary and their three children, ages 7, 10 & 11 months were without a vehicle and live in a small community where public transportation is not available. 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.
The Marcus Story
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 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.
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. Once the exterior body work was complete, FinishMaster® provided the finishing touch, a new paint job. 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.