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Pewaukee auto body shop donates van to Waukesha woman

Waukesha family will benefit from gift

Nov. 12, 2012

Angie Chmura wants to do more than just fix vehicles.

"Our goal is to help people in our local community," said Chmura, who co-owns three Goff's Auto Body shops (Pewaukee and Germantown) with her father, Bob.

By participating in the Recycled Rides program, Chmura and her staff are achieving that goal this year.

Recycled Rides is a nationwide community service project in which members of the National Auto Body Council repair and donate recycled vehicles to families and service organizations in need in their communities.

"It's something I wanted to do for many years," said Chmura, who grew up in Pewaukee and now lives in Waukesha. "I have friends across the auto body industry who have done it before."

A team effort

Chmura signed up to be part of the program last year after partnering with American Family Insurance.

Chmura explained that after a vehicle is declared a total loss, American Family pays the customer for the value of the vehicle before the loss. The insurance company can then sell the vehicle through a salvage vendor.

Because of the Recycled Rides program, the insurance company instead donated a vehicle to Chmura's shop, where it was repaired to industry standards to meet all state safety requirements, she said.

Chmura added that the entire exterior was repainted, and the interior got a complete makeover by her team, all of whom donated their time free of charge to work on the car.

"It was pretty badly damaged, but everyone pulled together," Chmura said. "It looks beautiful."

Tending to a need

The fruits of their labor will go to Maria Jose Carillo, who will receive the vehicle during a brief ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Goff's Collision Repair Center, W229 N2591 Duplainville Road, City of Pewaukee. In addition, other vendors donated gift cards, a car seat for her baby and other gifts for Carillo.

When Carillo, of Waukesha, receives all of these items, it will be a drastic change. Chmura said Carillo relies on public transportation every day to get herself and her 14-month-old daughter to and from work and daycare.

Her husband is disabled and unable to work.

"I'm so excited," said Carillo, 22, who recently moved to Wisconsin from Texas. "I'm counting down the days."

Chmura said Carillo was chosen by La Casa de Esperanza, a Waukesha-based organization that helps more than 15,000 individuals and families annually through a variety of programs and services.

Carillo works as a receptionist at the La Casa daycare and has aspirations of becoming an elementary school teacher.

"I chose the charity, because they're a big charitable organization, and I wanted to work with people in Waukesha that do really good things for others," Chmura said. "And when I contacted them, they were really excited about it."

A time of giving

Chmura explained to be eligible for the program, the person should not have reliable transportation, but has to have a job, a license and insurance.

"When she found out she was ecstatic," Chmura said. "She broke down in tears."

This is the kind of effect Chmura had in mind when signing up for the program.

"We are very proud of our staff and could not think of a better time than Thanksgiving week to give away this vehicle," she said.

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