Wheels in mo­tion

Army vet­eran re­ceives do­nated car in com­mem­o­ra­tion of Vet­er­ans Day

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jessica Lerner

MIL­FORD — A round of ap­plause re­ver­ber­ated through the room as a 29-year-old Army vet­eran no longer has to lace up his black-and-green skates ev­ery day to rollerblade 81⁄2 miles each way for his land­scap­ing job.

Vet­er­ans, in­sur­ance agency em­ploy­ees and high school choir mem­bers watched as Ja­cob Handy of Bris­tol was pre­sented with a re­fur­bished blue 2014 Hyundai Accent, as part of Pro­gres­sive’s fifth an­nual Keys to Progress pro­gram. He said “this breaks the dam for me,” ex­plain­ing that “since I’ve got out of ac­tive duty, it’s been a real strug­gle for me. This is ... a lot for me.”

Serv­ing in the Army for three years as an in­fantry soldier in Iraq took a toll of Handy’s well­be­ing, he said. Af­ter re­turn­ing, he spent an­other three years train­ing other soldiers.

Upon re­tir­ing from the Army Na­tional Guard, he found him­self strug­gling, as his mil­i­tary skills weren’t trans­fer­able to ev­ery­day civil­ian life, he said. Be­sides his trek to work, he was only able to see his three chil­dren sev­eral times a month, need­ing a ride to get there, af­ter al­ready hav­ing missed birth­days and hol­i­days with them.

Just like Handy, ap­prox­i­mately 40 per­cent of vet­er­ans live in ar­eas where af­ford­able trans­porta­tion op­tions are lim­ited, forc­ing them to travel great dis-

Arnold Gold / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

U.S. Army vet­eran Ja­cob Handy of Bris­tol looks over a 2014 Hyundai Accent he re­ceived at the Pro­gres­sive Ser­vice Cen­ter in Mil­ford dur­ing the com­pany’s fifth an­nual Keys to Progress event Thurs­day. The car was re­stored by Breezy Point Auto Body of Strat­ford.

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