In America, mobility is everything.
A defender of America’s way of life now has some mobility back in hers, thanks to a collaboration of national and regional businesses and nonprofits.
On Thursday, Army veteran and Lusby resident Anita James received the keys to a 2015 Honda Accord.
The Honda, which had been totaled in a collision, was fully restored and deemed road-worthy and presented to James during a brief ceremony at Service King Collision Repair Center in Lusby.
“I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity, this is a life-changer,” Hill said.
The vehicle donation was the result of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program. The council’s trademark community service program involves collision repair companies like Service King working with insurance partners and nonprofits so that vehicles are repaired and donated to families and organizations in need within their areas of service.
According to Service King’s regional territory manager Shelly Regalla, the collision repair center partnered with Geico and the Veterans Division of the National Foundation of Integrative Medicine to present the vehicle to James, who was ranked as a specialist and served with the Military Police.
James had been stationed in Bamberg, Germany, with the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a combat soldier. For over a year she was deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Upon returning to the United States, James was honorably discharged from the Army due to injuries sustained during combat.
Regalla said when she contacted Andrew McCorison of the Veterans Division of NFIM regarding the Recycled Rides program to see if he knew of a veteran who would benefit from receiving a vehicle “he immediately said ‘yes’ and told me about Anita.”
The foundation, Regalla noted, “is committed to finding “21st-century medical solutions and assisting veterans in medical trouble who are unable to get help through the ‘system.”
The Accord had sustained considerable damage, particularly to its back end.
Six Service King collision repair specialists — Derrick Jones, Wayne Howard, Ronnie Bennefeld, Chris Gority, Aaron Hutchins II and Rick Reeder — voluntarily helped bring the badly battered vehicle back to drivability.
“It took them three weeks,” said Service King manager Alex Rugile, who added this was the Lusby location’s first Recycled Rides project. “We had to wait for some parts. They donated all their time and labor.”
James said while she has been able to get job interviews lined up, “it’s been hard to get to them without a vehicle.”
Work is not the only place the restored Honda Accord will likely be taking James. Noting that she has an enthusiasm for drawing, James said she might “go back to school with my G.I. Bill.”
Other companies that participated in the project were were Southern Maryland Towing, Detailing Dynamics Inc., Rockville Auto Tag and Title, All Star Auto Lights and D&S Class Company.