Veteran receives free car from Napa auto body business

Veteran receives free car from Napa auto body business

Aug 12, 2016
JENNIFER HUFFMAN
jhuffman@napanews.com

A growing Napa family of four received a gift on Tuesday night that will make their lives much easier — and safer. And it came on four wheels.

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Cassidy Nolan, 26, is a Napa resident and Marine Corps veteran. The young father and his wife Jillian have two girls — 3 years and 18 months old — and are expecting a baby in March.

There was just one problem. The family lacked a dependable car. Nolan has been driving a 12-year-old truck he bought years ago when he was still single and at Camp Pendleton.

Six years later, the truck has more than 150,000 miles on it and “is on its last leg,” Nolan said.

The family is afraid to use the unreliable truck to go on outings or trips. To top it off, next year Nolan plans to transfer from Napa Valley College to UC Berkeley and will be commuting to the university from Napa.

But thanks to Mike’s Auto Body of Napa, the family’s wheel worries have been greatly relieved.

The company, which has 15 locations in the Bay Area, presented the Nolans with a free 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan on Tuesday. The gift was part of the auto body’s Benevolence Program.

Seeing the car for the first time, “I was shocked. Surprised. Flabbergasted,” Nolan said.

“It was a huge gift. I am very honored to have this opportunity.”

“This car is absolutely perfect,” said Nolan. “It’s practically brand new, and it will last until the girls are in college.”

Sal Contreras at Mike’s Auto Body has been involved in the company’s Benevolence Program since its inception. He said he always gets excited when recipients see their cars for the first time.

“It is very satisfying, that’s for sure,” Contreras said.

This vehicle was provided by Hertz Rent A Car. It is the 60th such vehicle that Mike’s Auto Body has given away in the Bay Area.

Nolan was sponsored to receive the car by The Pathway Home, an organization that provides veterans with educational, professional and clinical support after military service. Eight technicians at Mike’s Auto Body donated their time to refurbish the vehicle.

The Nolan family also received a year of paid insurance and a trunk full of gifts.

In addition to the car, Nolan has been recently recognized in other ways for his service and community contributions.

Earlier this summer, Nolan was named the 2016 Veteran of the Year for the 4th Assembly District.

He also received a $4,000 scholarship from Community Projects, Inc. and a $6,000 scholarship from the George and Gwendolyn Goodin Scholarship, a fund of Napa Valley Community Foundation.

After he completes his education, “I’d like to become a business consultant, helping people achieve their goals,” Nolan said. “My business will involve veterans in some capacity.”

Besides presenting the Nolans with their vehicle, the event Tuesday evening at Mike’s Auto Body celebrated the recent expansion of the business. The facility, located at 827 Vallejo St., added 1,950 square feet of new offices, a new lobby and on-site parking.

“We’re excited about the new expansion and delighted to be able to provide jobs that help the local economy and the community,” said Mike Rose, owner of Mike’s Auto Body.

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