For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -
Todd Harris, owner of Crown Car Care in Stuart and Palm City, wants to put a deserving veteran behind a driver's seat and on his way to a better life.
The "Wheels to Warrior" is a new program of the nonprofit Road to Victory Military Museum in Stuart. The winner will be notified in advance and the car will be awarded at the Stuart Air Show on Nov. 10.
Mr. Harris has been a strong supporter of honoring the military for many years. In 2010 he unveiled the Memphis Belle replica nose-art at the Stuart Air Show. Veterans were invited to sign it and it is now on exhibit at the Road to Victory Military Museum in Stuart.
Last year, Crown Car Care and Crown Collision helped restore a 1951 Russian MIG UTI for display at the Stuart Air Show. High school students had the opportunity to work on project and have a piece of history come to life with their help.
Mr. Harris and his partner, Mark Smith, have also been sponsors of Honor Flight that assists World War II veterans to visit Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials.
"This year, I wanted to do something that could really make a difference in the life of a veteran. Our returning veterans are having a difficult time finding jobs and if they do, transportation can often be an obstacle," said Mr. Harris.
Mr. Harris is donating a 2004 Ford Windstar minivan and is in the process of outfitting the vehicle with new tires, a complete exterior paint job with some special artwork and a complete mechanical check and repair.
"We will consider all veterans that meet the guidelines and any family that has experienced the loss of their head of household. We know that sometimes it can be hardest on the surviving family members who may not have as much access to benefits," Mr. Harris said.
The guidelines for entering are: provide proof that they are a Martin County resident (photo ID with address; proof of service in the military post Sept. 11, 2002 and a copy of their DD-214 military form.
Gift cards and cash are also needed to fill up the van, if possible, with groceries and household staples. Donations of cash or gift cards for groceries, gasoline, car washes, car insurance and other household supplies may be dropped off at four locations: Crown Car Care, 4455 S.E. Cove Road, Stuart, Crown Car Care, 3982 S.W. Bruner Terrace, Palm City, Crown Collision, 3438 Deggeller Court, Palm City and on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Road to Victory Military Museum, 319 Stypman in Stuart off of E. Ocean Boulevard.
Vehicles will also be accepted for future donations.
All donations are tax-deductible and any checks should be made payable to the Road to Victory Military Museum.
Application may be made by submitting a letter of need, along with the requested criteria to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications may also be submitted by mail to the Road to Victory Military Museum, 319 Stypman, Stuart, FL 34994. The deadline for entry is Oct. 31.
For more information, call (772) 932-1893.