13:57 PM

Veteran receives vehicle from American Family Insurance and Gerber Collision & Glass as part of Recycled Rides program


American Family Insurance and a local body shop teamed up to present a former Marine and Iraqi war veteran with a refurbished vehicle during a UW-Madison men’s basketball game at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

In honor of Veterans Day, Marine and Iraqi war veteran Tom Gordon was the recipient of a vehicle donated by American Family Insurance and refurbished by Gerber Collision & Glass as part of the national Recycled Rides program.

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

Total-loss cars get new life with Recycled Rides

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.

American Family and Gerber work with a local veterans organization to identify a veteran for this gift. Recipients meet certain requirements such as need, valid driver’s license and ability to insure and maintain the vehicle.

2019 Recycled Rides veteran recipient

Tom and members of his family were special guests at the UW-Madison Badger basketball game on November 8 at the Kohl Center in Madison, where he was honored as a “Veteran of the Game.”

In addition, he was surprised with a video that revealed what kind of vehicle he was receiving during a first half timeout (a Toyota Corolla). At a second half timeout, American Family Insurance Chief Financial Officer Dan Kelly and Vice President of Claims Tim Constien, along with representatives from Gerber Collision & Glass, presented keys to the deserving recipient.

Tom enlisted in the Marine Corp. in 2002 after high school graduation, as he said, “To serve the country I love.” Following boot camp and rifleman training, he was sent to Iraq on his first of three deployments. In 2004, his unit participated in firefights on a nearly nightly basis and fought in the Battle of Husaybah. During his final deployment in 2005, Tom was promoted to squad leader and encountered IED attacks, indirect fire and enemy snipers. After seven months of heavy fighting he went home. He left the Marines in 2006 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from UW-Oshkosh in December 2010. Tom now makes his home in Menasha, Wisconsin. He was accompanied to the game by his wife, Kim, and four of their eight children.

Watch the video from the men’s UW-Madison basketball game (provided by UW-Madison athletics, who partnered with AmFam and Gerber on this special event), when Tom and his family were shown the vehicle they would be receiving.

American Family Insurance is honored to participate annually in the Recycled Rides Program and present these vehicle gifts to deserving recipients, including this veteran.

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About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive independent contractor agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Affiliate Main Street America sells insurance products through independent agents and affiliate Ameriprise Auto & Home sells through partners. Web; Facebook; Twitter