Without a car of her own, Army Veteran Melissa Hooper of Riverside has been juggling a full-time job with a full-time course load in her goal to set an example by becoming the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Relief in in sight. Hooper and her four-year-old daughter received the priceless gift of independence and freedom when they were presented with keys to a newly refurbished car from Caliber Collision in San Bernardino and Encompass Insurance as a thank for her military service on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
“(As a) first generation Mexican-American and the first in my family to go to college, I am emboldened to show my family that their work ethic, their love, and their support helped change my life,” said Hooper.
Hooper has earned four Associates of Science degrees from Riverside Community College and was recently accepted into California State Polytechnic University, majoring in Management and Human Resources. In addition to her academics, Hooper was president of the Student Veterans Association, helping to win a $10,000 grant to revamp the Veterans Resource Center. Her hundreds of hours of volunteer service earned her the Riverside Community College Student of The Year Award in 2016.
The car donation from Encompass and Caliber is part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides™ program in which collision industry businesses team up to repair and donate cars to individuals in need of reliable transportation.
Over the past six years, Caliber Collision and its industry partners have repaired and donated nearly 300 cars valued at over $4 million to individuals in need of reliable transportation.