Over the last 19 years, Mike’s Auto Body has presented a total of 88 cars to deserving families and non-profit organizations, and on July 16, vehicle #89 (a 2015 fully-loaded KIA Sedona) to United States Coast Guard Yeoman Petty Officer Second-Class Eladia Minton and her family at a ceremony at the U.S.S. Hornet in Alameda, CA.
This year’s presentation was held in the shadows of an enormous carrier, also celebrated the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Coast Guard Chiefs of Alameda by presenting a “new” used car to a deserving Coast Guard family. It also marked Mike’s Auto Body’s 20th Anniversary participating in the Benevolence program.
Everything is always donated, including the cars, parts, paint, mechanical inspections, tires, and one full year of insurance. The body and paint technicians donate their time and talents.
“We are grateful this year to have Liberty Mutual/Safeco Insurance donate a “written off” vehicle that will be presented to a deserving Coastie family,” Sal Contreras from Mike’s Auto Body said. “During these uncertain times, it’s wonderful that we can continue our Benevolence Program and still be safe by following all regulations.
Due to the COVID-19 and all its restrictions, Mike’s Auto Body was not able to hold their “normal” presentation, so roughly 40 people were in attendance, including Coast Guard representatives, Mike’s employees (especially the technicians who worked on the Benevolence car), business partners and the local press. The Benevolence vehicle was covered and adorned with red, white, and blue bows and looked stunning with the U.S.S. Hornet in the background.
The program began with opening remarks by Sal Contreras, who has been emceeing Mike’s Benevolence presentations for two decades. This was followed by an invocation by Coast Guard Chaplain Matthew Harris; remarks from Mike’s Auto Body’s Director of Marketing Dane Dearlove; Captain Jose Pena, Commanding Officer of CG Base Alameda; President of the GG Chapter of the CPOA, Senior Chief Sain-R “SKE”; Senior Chief Rick Paauwe, CPOA Past President; CMC Ryan Goodman, Command Master Chief of CG Master Base; Senior Repair Network Specialist Manny Perrotta from Liberty Mutual/Safeco Insurance and finally a moving thank you from recipient YN2 Eladia Amelia Minton herself.
Just like at every Benevolence event since day one, Mike’s Auto Body’s Sal Contreras made a few welcoming and closing remarks. “It has been so rewarding over the last 19 years presenting the cars to deserving individuals and organizations who are working to improve their skills and become independent. We are excited to be part of our recipient’s life-changing experience and doing it in this amazing location next to these ships makes it even more significant.”
Mike’s Auto Body Benevolence program is a “community give-back program” whose mission is to present cars to deserving individuals or organizations year-round. Everything is donated, including the cars, parts, paint, mechanical inspections, tires and one full year of insurance. The body and paint technicians at Mike’s Auto Body donate their time and skills to turn these cars into pristine “new” used vehicles.
Special thanks go out to the Coast Guard, the people from the U.S. Hornet, the employees from Mike’s Auto Body’s location in Alameda, including Managers Kim Eubanks and Lester Branson; Technicians Ismael Acosta Gama, Orfil Najera, Alan Rasmussen, Gilberto Mendez, Dylan Ornelas-Shipman. John L. Sullivan Kia Parts, Wheel Service, Napa Auto Parts, Bay Area Mobile Detail, European Auto Care, 1701 Auto Care, and Big Discount Tire Pros donated time and products. CMC Ryan Goodman wrote a nomination letter for Minton with the hopes of her becoming a Mike’s Auto Body Benevolent Program Recipient.
Owner Mike Rose was very pleased to be able to hold the presentation during the COVID-19. “We never get tired of giving vehicles to deserving people in the military and being able to do it during the pandemic—that’s huge,” Rose said “By providing these recipients with cars, we’re giving them the gift of transportation that offers them independence and a chance to improve their lives. We call this a hand up rather than a handout because we have seen many of these vehicles have enabled people to do great things in their lives.”
Mike’s Auto Body’s Director of Marketing Dane Dearlove capsulized the day’s activities adroitly and with panache. “It was a perfect day,” he exclaimed. “Between the amazing weather; the boats; the incredible views of San Francisco—it all came together beautifully. Then, when you throw in the fact that we were giving a vehicle to a very deserving member of the Coast Guard—it definitely was a perfect storm.”