NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two U.S. Army veterans in need of reliable transportation were presented with refurbished vehicles Wednesday afternoon courtesy of the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program.
BeCandice Brantley and Nicole Leyva were both recognized for their service in a brief ceremony at the Auto Body Parts Association Convention held at the Double Tree by Hilton in the 300 block of 4th Avenue N at 5:30 p.m. before being introduced to their new rides.
Brantley served in the U.S. Army from 2005 to 2011 and joined Operation Stand Down last year, which “provides veterans and their families with programs for urgent needs, career services, transitional housing and VA benefits,” according to the organization’s website. Brantley’s coworkers would make sure she had a ride to work when her former vehicle would break down on a regular basis.
Leyva served two years in the U.S. Army, has two children and currently works as a nail artist. Her previous car that leaked oil and constantly produced smoke was her only source of transportation for her children and to get to work.
Brantley was donated a 2020 Chevrolet Equinox on behalf of Nationwide and was refurbished by Nexterra Solutions. Leyva received a 2016 Kia Optima that was donated by GEICO and refurbished by Crash Champions.
Air Force Veteran and owner of 3DE Towing, Desmond Smith, donated the towing for one of the vehicles and drove it from Knoxville to Nashville to be repaired in service to another military veteran. “As a veteran, I always want to help other veterans in need, and this was a perfect way to give back. I’m honored that I could play a part in providing these two deserving veterans reliable transportation and helping them on their path to independence,” said Smith.
NABC Recycled Rides unites businesses that specialize in collision repair to help donate vehicles to individuals and families who need reliable vehicles to ensure the best quality of life possible. The program has been around since 2007 and members of the National Auto Body Council have donated more than 3,000 vehicles that are valued around $42 million.
“Every year at our annual convention, we make an effort to give back to families in that community. It’s an honor to present these two deserving veterans and their families with the gift of reliable transportation. Thank you to all of the partners who made this possible,” said Ed Salamy, director of the Auto Body Parts Association.