14:36 PM

Marines receive vehicles from American Family Insurance and Recycled Rides on Veterans Day


Two decorated Marine veterans received vehicles on Veterans Day through the Recycled Rides program.

Decorated Marine veterans Brandon Bruce of Argyle, Wis., and Jake Janes of Evansville, Wis. were the recipients of vehicles donated by American Family Insurance and refurbished by Gates Collision Centers as part of the Recycled Rides program.

Through this program, American Family partners with local auto body shops to donate vehicles that have been declared a total loss. This nationwide, non-profit project, organized by the National Auto Body Council, repairs and donates vehicles to deserving recipients.

When a car is declared a total loss, American Family pays the customer for the actual cash value of the vehicle before the loss. American Family usually takes possession of the vehicle and can sell it through a salvage vendor. With this program, rather than take the salvage proceeds, American Family donates the vehicles and a local auto body shop donates its services to repair them. Other vendors also offer parts and services. The vehicles are repaired to industry standards and meet state safety requirements. Recipients of vehicles through this program must meet a number of criteria, such as a valid driver’s license, proof of income/employment, a safe driving record and ability to insure and maintain the vehicle. AmFam and Gates Collison Centers worked with the Semper Fi Fund to identify local veterans for this gift.

Brandon Bruce joined the Marine Corps in Feb. 2004, completed boot camp and was stationed at Camp Pendleton when he was deployed to Iraqi in Feb. 2005. He sustained significant leg and head injuries in March 2005 during an enemy attack in Iraq. He is the recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon, Purple Heart, Certificate of Appreciation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Rifle Marksmanship Badge. Brandon and his wife, Kara, purchased property in Argyle in Sept. 2015 where they now farm. Their goal is to raise animals and crops and pass down the farm one day to their two young sons, Bryce and Brayden, who will be 1 and 2 years old in January.

Jake Janes joined the Marine Corps in Oct. 2006 where he attended boot camp and completed Engineer School. He was deployed to Iraq in 2007-2008 and then to Afghanistan in 2008-2009. During his deployment to Afghanistan he sustained traumatic loss of both legs below the knee when he stepped on an I.E.D. while conducting combat operations against enemy forces. Jake is the recipient of the Purple Heart, Combat Action ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal with combat “V,” and Good Conduct Medal. Jake now owns a small taxidermy business. He is working hard on his skills and hopes to continue to expand his business.

Brandon received a Ford F-350 and Jake received a GMC Sierra.

On Veterans Day it was an honor for American Family Insurance be part of this presentation to these deserving veterans.