The vehicle donation was part of Allstate Insurance Company and Sterling Autobody Centers’ nationwide commitment to helping families and charities in need of reliable transportation.
“This is needed very, very badly,” said Karen Carlisle, vice president of corporate communications and development for the Center. “We have a vehicle donation program, so whenever a pretty decent van or SUV is donated to us, it is very much appreciated, but it is usually well over 100,000 miles and on its last leg, so we’re always looking for a new one. And at this time, we were looking and praying for a new one. So we were just tickled that we were able to get one through this donation program. God winks sometimes when it comes to coincidences like this one.”
The 2007 Toyota 4-Runner was presented to Carlisle and other Tommy Nobis officials at the Marietta Sterling Autobody Center, located at 1371 Bells Ferry Road, by Allstate and Sterling officials at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Carlisle said the vehicle will be used to transport employee trainees with disabilities — usually around 40 to 50 a day — to and from their job training sites located across the county. The Center also gives away two vehicles a year to graduates of the Center, Carlisle said, but the 4-Runner donated by Sterling and Allstate will be used to transport trainees, Carlisle said.
The Center is one of 40 recipients of Allstate and Sterling’s Thanksgiving week donation program, which is being operated through the National Autobody Council’s Recycled Rides Programs. All of the vehicles have been restored to “like new” condition by Sterling technicians, who donate their time and money to restore the vehicles. All 40 are being given out across the U.S. this week to nonprofit organizations, individuals and families in need of a way to get around town, said John Heid, Allstate senior communications consultant.
Mark Mawer, general manager of the Marietta Sterling location, said this is the second year the Bells Ferry Road business has donated a refurbished car through the program. Mawer said they donated a vehicle to MUST Ministries to help a family from that center who was in need last year. Mawer said the Allstate claims centers donate vehicles that are able to be salvaged to Sterling to be refurbished.
“We’ve done some work for (Tommy Nobis Center) in the past, and struck up a relationship with them, so we felt they would be a good candidate,” Mawer said. “This one didn’t have a lot of severe damage. We refurbished the front rear bumper assemblies and repainted them, we took care to make sure the suspension is in good shape, replaced floor mats and did a full detail. They have driven it off the block, and it’s theirs now.”
Mawer said the Center’s newest vehicle has clocked about 81,000 miles.
“Sterling Autobody Centers has adopted the National Autobody Council’s Recycled Rides project as a corporate initiative,” said Nick Notte, president of Sterling Autobody Centers and the National Autobody Council’s 2011 Recycled Rides co-chair. “It makes perfect sense — using the resources of insurers and suppliers to provide the canvas on which repairers can showcase their craft as an art and to benefit deserving charities and families around the country.”
Since its inception in 1977, the Tommy Nobis Center has helped more than 22,000 individuals with disabilities find workplace success, Carlisle said.
“This is just an opportunity to help us even more accomplish our mission of putting people to work, people with all kinds of disabilities,” Carlisle said. “One of our goals is to turn tax consumers into tax payers — to help them find jobs, keep jobs and to take them off public assistance like Social Security. The gift of this vehicle is just one step closer toward independence for our clients. It changes the way we are able to make a difference by allowing us to help more people.”
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