RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Cali. (MCT) — A U.S. Navy serviceman and his family received a free car at Caliber Collision on Tuesday.
The car donation is part of the Recycled Rides Program, in which collision repair companies and insurers team up to provide vehicles to families in need. The car, a 2012 Toyota Corolla, will help the family of Navy electrician Brandon Walker, whose 9-month-old daughter Kira was born with kidney and brain damage.
Walker’s family, who recently moved to San Diego after his deployment in Japan, purchased another car that subsequently broke down. The family needs reliable transportation to the hospital and is also hampered by medical and car-related bills.
Walker and his family were nominated by the Support the Enlisted Project, or STEP, for the Recycled Rides program. The car was donated by Esurance, with Caliber Collision staff donating their time and effort for refurbishing the car. Parts, labor and gifts were also donated by Enterprise, Claremont Toyota, AutoZone, United Dent, Kustom Bumpers Inc., and Glass Town.
“Esurance donated the car, our local vendors actually supplied all the parts for the vehicle, our employees donated their time to repair the vehicle and we’re here today and we’re ready to go,” said James Krauss, center manager, on the morning of the event. “It’s just going to be a wonderful site when we give them the keys ... the gift of giving is just tremendous.”
The Toyota was driven into the workroom floor as dozens watched the family receive the vehicle. The family also received $4,090 in cash, checks and gift cards from the sponsors.
“I’m incredibly excited,” Walker said. “This is going to take a lot of stress off of our family. I’m not going to worry about my time at work, if I can stay at work a full day so I don’t have to come home and get to the hospital with my daughter and my wife.”
The Walker’s 3-year-old daughter Zoey appeared overwhelmed with happiness as the trunk of the car was opened to reveal dolls and toys.
“This is amazing, this is absolutely amazing,” said Walker. “The STEP Program, Caliber Collision, Recycled Rides and everybody here — it’s amazing.”
His wife Kyla echoed the sentiment.
“It’s amazing and overwhelming,” she said. “It’s awesome.”
Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Dennis Michael was there to recognize the sponsors of the event.
“As far as the city of Rancho Cucamonga goes, we can’t thank Caliber Collision enough for locating in our city,” Michael said, “but more importantly, we can’t thank Caliber Collision and Esurance enough for what they’ve done for the Walker family.”
To donate funds for the family’s needs, visit gofundme.com
©2014 the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.