Car give-away program to go national.

VFW Post 4927 member, Dennis Sullivan (left), and New
York State Commander Jim Durkin (right) present a
veteran in need with a new car.

"It all started over a cup of coffee with Joe Amodio, owner of 112 Automotive in Patchogue, New York," said Dennis Sullivan, member of VFW Post 4927. "We were looking for a new way to help veterans."

Sullivan and Amodio discussed how to bring together their expertise and start a program that would directly benefit veterans by recycling cars and donating them.

In March 2010, Sullivan collaborated with several auto body shops in New York, as well as members of the Long Island Auto Body Council and the National Auto Body Association to create the Recycled Rides Program. 

The idea is simple: give deserving military families a free, reliable vehicle out of gratitude for their service.

Insurance companies donate cars, vendors donate paint and parts and mechanics donate their time repairing the vehicles and restoring them to prime condition for the veterans.

"Car ownership is out of reach for many veterans in this tough economy," said Sullivan. "Having a car helps them get to their VA appointments, go to school, hold a job and take care of their families without depending on others."

Since the program's start, 32 cars have been donated to veterans. Sullivan couldn't be more proud.

"For me, it has been such a heartwarming experience. The families are so grateful," he said.

As the program has grown, so has the number of veterans who need cars. A collision center contacted Sullivan about expanding the program to a national level and creating a 500-car giveaway across the United States.

Sullivan reached out to Michael Penney, VFW National Military Services Director, about the idea. Penney will work with local VFW's to participate in the Recycled Rides Program to find veterans who need a helping hand.

"Transportation is extremely important in helping veterans feel independent," said Penney. "The least we can do is help veterans enjoy the freedom they fought for."



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