Car repair shop will surprise veteran next week

Published: Dec. 14, 2018 at 5:23 PM PST
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Many of us like the idea of giving back, especially during the holidays. One local auto repair shop tries to do it throughout the year. But the shop saves its biggest donation until just before Christmas, handing car keys over to a veteran.

The finishing touches continue on a Dodge Intreped. The 1999 model was donated to

just after this event last year.

“I don't know what to say,” said Peter Lucas, a veteran, just after he received his car just before Christmas 2017.

It was mechanic Geoffrey Walsh's first experience with the veterans' car giveaway.

“I might be in that position someday, and hopefully there is somebody out there that will take care of me,” says Walsh, a master technician at COAUTO.

Walsh says he and his fellow mechanics took care of the Intreped over the past 11 months during their off time.

While the car has some age on it, fortunately the repairs are reflective of that and can be easily handled.

“We have rubber seals on this vehicle that dried up and they get hard. When you take them off, they begin to snap. When we put fresh seals on there, it takes up any gaps that could potentially be there that the old seals have left,” says Walsh.

There are new tires on the car.

“Winter tires give the best performance on snow and ice,” Albert Depaz, the COAUTO Service Manager, says.

Veterans like Michelle McCormick in 2015 and Brandon Hinojosa in 2016 were selected by the

as recipients of the COAUTO car giveaway.

Depaz says every event is different, but gives him the same feeling of gratitude and appreciation. He always wants to say this after the keys are handed over.

“Thank you for your service. We really appreciate everything you guys have done.”

He'll get that opportunity December 21, 2018.