As part of Caliber Collision’s “Changing Lanes” program, a refurbished 2016 Honda Civic was presented to Killeen veterans Antoinette and Patrick Dombrosk on Friday.
The program, a free 18-week training course offered to Fort Hood soldiers nearing completion of their service, aims to help veterans transition from a regimented military environment to the typical yet unpredictable civilian life.
According to Caliber Collision, 13 soldiers from Fort Hood graduated stress-free from the program on Friday, armed with a $12,000 toolbox, employment offers and a new career in the fast-growing collision repair industry. Greg Clark, chief marketing officer at Caliber Collision, said the job offers are valid at just about any Caliber Collision location across their U.S. network according to need.
Clark said that this is the first cohort of Changing Lanes and they aim to graduate 200 veterans by the end of the year. He added that Changing Lanes also operates in Fort Bragg and plans to start training veterans at Camp Pendleton soon.
Caliber Collision said Antoinette was medically retired two years ago and has been unable to work. In addition to the financial strains this has caused, the Dombrosk family car recently broke down, leaving the couple and their young children, ages 7 and 9, to travel by foot, by bus or rely on family and friends for rides.
As an added surprise, Clark said the trunk of the car was stuffed with extra gifts for the family and toys for the kids.
"The amazing thing about this family is that they said they would be giving these gifts back to the community," Clark added, saying they planned to donate the extra gifts to local groups.
He said the Dombrosks' daughter, an aspiring journalist, was more concerned with all the cameras and people at the event, anyway.
Kim Kimbriel, a spokeswoman for Caliber Collision, said the family was selected as the recipient through a group called Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit military support group. Soldiers' Angels reported that the Dombrosks have a combined 16 years of service in the military -- Antoinette being deployed in Afghanistan and Patrick in both Korea and Iraq.
Soldiers' Angels said that while Antoinette is medically retired and has medical needs of her own, she spends all of her time caring for their son, who has a genetic disorder that requires special attention.
The vehicle donation was part of Caliber’s Recycled Rides program, the business said, where businesses in the collision repair industry team up to donate repaired vehicles to individuals in need of reliable transportation. Clark said that about 150 cars have been gifted to people in need through this program.