Pittsburgh Steelers legend Rocky Bleier and the Veteran Leadership Program recently helped two deserving Pittsburgh veterans experience a life-changing event – the presentation of two vehicles to give them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families – thanks to the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides program, as well as car donors Allstate and Farmers Insurance and Body by Cochran Collision Monroeville.
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The presentation was held at Rosedale Technical College in conjunction with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) industry reception. Bleier, who shared stories of inspiration and teamwork and met the veterans and other guests, joined in the festivities, along with representatives from Allstate, Farmers and Body by Cochran Collision.
Bleier, a U.S. Army veteran, was drafted while playing for the Steelers and served in Vietnam. He now works in the Pittsburgh community helping other veterans in need.
“I’m so happy to be able to be here and show off these cars to veterans who need transportation,” said Bleier, a four-time Super Bowl champion. “I am proud to work with the Veteran Leadership Program, which identified these veterans and connected them to the NABC Recycled Rides program. It is a tribute to our community that we have organizations like them to take care of our veterans. I am very privileged to be able to help with this program. The NABC does this all over the country throughout the year and donates 300 cars to people in need, like single mothers and about 75% to veterans.
The veteran recipients, who were selected by the Veteran Leadership Program, included:
- Anita Richmond, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who worked daily at his full-time and part-time job as a Lyft driver until his 2007 vehicle experienced significant transmission issues that were too expensive to repair . Since then, Richmond has been using public transport and had to give up her part-time job at Lyft. “It will help me keep my job and take care of simple daily chores like grocery shopping,” Richmond said. “I am forever grateful for this opportunity and very grateful that it was given to me. It is great that this program helps veterans when they need it.
- ryan muller, who served his country in the US Army Reserves for eight years and as a combat engineer in Iraq, where he suffered injuries that led to great suffering that he faces every day. Through the pain, he walks two miles to work as a cook at a local restaurant, which adds stress on his knees. Mueller is an extremely hard worker and is also enrolled in vocational rehabilitation and employment to help retrain him for another field of work that would be less stressful on his body. “It’s been three or four months since I’ve had a reliable vehicle, so I can only accept a job that I can walk to,” Mueller said. “Thanks to this, I have a job that pays twice as much money from tomorrow because I now have a means of transport to get there. It will help me to move forward in my life, to put myself back to work and back to school to complete my master’s degree to help others in need.
Recycled Rides is a program in which companies representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the program’s inception in 2007, NABC members have donated nearly 3,000 vehicles worth some $42 million.
Other partners in the presentation included PPG, which donated the paint for the vehicles; 1-800 charity cars; TOONA Automotive Paint & Equipment and FindPigtails.com, both of which provided generous gas cards to the two veterans; CREF and Rosedale Technical College, which hosted the event.