Free cars go to worthy recipients

Three Tucson families get reliable rides from Caliber Collision, Geico
2013-04-12T00:00:00Z Free cars go to worthy recipientsArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Elena Rascon, Angel Alvarez and Chris Hernandez are all Tucsonans in different situations, but all have two things in common.

They're all struggling with daily transportation issues, and they were all selected to receive a newly refurbished vehicle as part of Caliber Collision's Recycled Rides program.

The Recycled Rides program partners with insurance companies to refurbish and donate vehicles to individuals in need.

These three recipients were selected from more than 400 nominations submitted by Tucsonans.

Rascon is a single mother of three. She and her children have gone through divorce, homelessness and a serious car accident in the last few years. Lingering effects from the accident make walking painful for Rascon.

She got a full-time position at a Tucson elementary school but has had to borrow a vehicle or make complex transportation arrangements since her vehicle was unreliable.

Angel Alvarez is a landscaper and handyman. He often has to ride the bus to get to his various part-time jobs, which he relies on to help support his family of five children and 10 grandchildren. With a reliable car, he will be able to take a full- time job offer with a landscaping company.

Chris and Terry Hernandez have seven children. The youngest was born with chronic renal failure and received a kidney transplant last June. He still requires regular trips to the hospital for follow-up visits and therapy. With all of the medical bills, the family cannot afford to buy a second car.

Arranging transportation with one car and a large family can be tricky, and often involves borrowed vehicles, buses and car pools. Despite that, the children are involved in school and extracurricular activities.

Each selected person and his or her family was given keys to a newly refurbished vehicle Thursday in a surprise presentation at the Geico offices near East Speedway and North Kolb Road.

All vehicles given away were donated by Geico and refurbished by Caliber Collision workers who volunteered their time as a community-service project.

"We hope these vehicles will ease the burden of transportation and serve as the catalyst that helps the three selected recipients get through their challenges and back on the road toward a positive future," Earl Chittum, regional auto damage director for Geico, said in a news press release.

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