Re­pair shop, All­state gift car to lo­cal woman

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Adam Dodd adodd@news-her­ald.com @the­re­al­adamdodd on twit­ter

The sea­son of giv­ing has started early for Ger­ber Col­li­sion.

Lo­cated in May­field Heights, the auto body re­pair shop has part­nered with All­state In­sur­ance, the Na­tional Auto Body Coun­cil, and non­profit Fam­ily Prom­ise to pro­vide the gift of trans­porta­tion to a lo­cal re­cip­i­ent in need.

An­nette Smith is a reg­is­tered prac­ti­cal nurse and sin­gle mother to a 1-year-old boy. She has been ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing her and her child’s life.

“As re­cent as April, I was in a home­less shel­ter,” she re­called. “The op­por­tu­nity came to re­ceive a free car as long as I kept a valid li­cense and in­sur­ance and keep my job. All of which I do any­way

for my son.”

Orig­i­nally cre­ated by the NABC, the Re­cy­cled Rides pro­gram sees lightly used cars re­fur­bished and then given to a res­i­dent in need.

Fam­ily Prom­ise’s Ken Kom­perda ul­ti­mately de­ter­mined the de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ent.

“We were look­ing for some­one that’s worked hard, per­se­veres and is will­ing to take care of busi­ness,” he said. “An­nette’s proven to be a great se­lec­tion. She go­ing to do re­ally well from here on. We’re all re­ally ex­cited for her.”

The gen­eral man­ager for the May­field Heights branch of Ger­ber Col­li­sion, Jay Pope, worked as point

man by fa­cil­i­tat­ing many of the be­hind the scene lo­gis­tics.

It was his team at Ger­ber Col­li­sion that hosted the event and made sure Smith’s ride was as good as fac­tory fresh. That in­cluded fix­ing the bumper and hood, re­plac­ing the wind­shield and in­te­rior up­hol­stery, pro­vid­ing a clean­ing and buff­ing, and an en­tire bat­tery of safety tests.

“This is awe­some,” he said in an in­ter­view. “When we can give back to the com­mu­nity some­thing that we do for a liv­ing, it’s just price­less.”

Au­to­zone also got in­volved by do­nat­ing a car care pack­age that in­cluded all sorts of prod­ucts and ac­ces­sories for Smith. They also in­cluded a gas card, which will keep trans­porta­tion af­ford­able as Smith com­mutes to her job at The Greens Care and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion nurs­ing home.

With All­state’s do­nated 2016 Toy­ota XLE Camry look­ing and run­ning bet­ter than ever, there was only one thing left to do — hand the keys off to the lucky driver on Nov. 8.

“I didn’t be­lieve it at first,” Smith said.

When asked what her first big plan for the car was, Smith laughed, “just be­ing able to get to work is a big plan for me.”

The mayor of May­field Heights, Anthony DiCicco, was also on hand for the event.

“It’s great that there are busi­nesses in our com­mu­nity that care about peo­ple that are less for­tu­nate,” he said. “To have the cal­iber of those peo­ple here in this city is amaz­ing.”

ADAM DODD — THE NEWS-HER­ALD

An­nette Smith in the mo­ment of re­ceiv­ing her car keys at Ger­ber Auto Col­li­sion, lo­cated on May­field Road.

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