More than 100 veterans and their families across the country received keys to newly refurbished vehicles Thursday—and two of those deserving military veterans are from right here in the Valley.
Jacqulyn Mancuso and Zeny Stewart have both faced some challenges after getting out of the military, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving back to others who have served.
Both women were nominated and selected by local military charity organizations because of the amount of time they help veterans who were once in their shoes.
For both women, the day seemed a bit surreal.
“It’s pretty much going to be life-changing. It’s going to take a lot of stress away,” said Stewart.
“Oh my goodness, I’m so excited,” said Mancuso
After being discharged, Mancuso, an Army vet, was homeless for a time. And Stewart, who was in the Navy, battled PTSD. Both women say they got back on their feet through the help of others.
Today, Mancuso and Stewart, who both owned cars on their last leg, received newly refurbished Hyundai Sonatas for what they give back to veterans across the Valley.
“I volunteer my time to a nonprofit organization in the Valley that transitions veterans out of homelessness called the Veterans Furniture Center,” said Mancuso.
Stewart says her new car from the Progressive Insurance Keys to Success program will help with her daughter Lela’s doctors visits and her continuing mission to help vets in need.
Mancuso says she plans to pay it forward for years to come.
“It’s an honor and privilege to give back with an event like this. I’m a military brat. So, for me, it’s special to be a part of this. I’m grateful to Progressive for letting me emcee this event and be a part of this. These women are so deserving. This is the sixth year of the event and our partners are vital in making this happen,” said Hamilton Bohanan, with Progressive Insurance.
The cars given out Thursday were recovered stolen vehicles that had been insured by Progressive.
All of them were fully refurbished by two Valley Auto Body Shops, including Allard Collision and A & D Auto Body.
“We were honored to be a part of this event. It took a lot of partners to make this happen. We couldn’t be happier to help,” said John Allard, owner of Allard Collision.
“It’s such a great program and we were honored we could be a part of this,” said Pam Counts of A&D Auto Body.