Two Topekans Receive the Keys to Better Lives

May 3, 2016

A Topeka veteran and a single dad with five children are the latest recipients of refurbished vehicles through Washburn Tech’s Recycled Rides program. Governor Sam Brownback and United Way President/CEO Miriam Krehbiel presented the keys at a special ride-away event on Tuesday, May 3, outside the Kansas Statehouse.

David Earl rode way in a 2007 Saturn Aura donated by State Farm Insurance, which also made a $15,000 donation to Washburn Tech’s Recycled Rides program. Earl is a full-time volunteer at Foundation House, an assisted living facility in Topeka for veterans. Earl, a veteran himself, spends countless hours at Foundation House caring for and improving the quality of life for many disabled veterans. He hopes to open his own business soon and said the new wheels will help make that happen.

“If it wasn’t for everyone I would not be here today, I would not be receiving this vehicle,” Earl said. “You have no idea how much this will change my life. Thank you so much.”

Mike Miller, a father of five, took home a 2007 Chevrolet Impala donated by the Nature Conservancy. Without a car, Miller found it very difficult to attend his kids’ plays, games and other school activities. His Recycled Ride will help him become more engaged and active in his children’s lives.

Recycled Rides partners auto students with instructors and professional mentors in the community to refurbish vehicles, which are awarded to individuals and families in need. Local businesses and individuals also donate parts and supplies to get the vehicles on the road again.

Washburn Tech was the first college in the nation to participate in the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program. The vehicles, refurbished and presented this spring, become the 15th and 16th rides donated by Washburn Tech.