FAIRFIELD — After the pomp and circumstance of Fairfield’s Veterans Day parade, down the street a small group of community members gathered to honor the day in a quiet but important way.
Sal Contreras, the sales and marketing director of Mike’s Auto Body, stood outside the Fairfield store with a grin on his face and enthusiasm to spare. He and the staff of the store had something of a surprise for one lucky military family.
Every year of the 40 years Mike’s Auto Body has been in service, the company has given away custom-made cars to families in need. The car giveaway usually takes place during the holidays, but owner Mike Rose explained that this year he decided to change things.
The store has only been in its Fairfield location since May and with Travis Air Force Base so close, Rose felt it was suitable to honor the spirit of Veterans Day by giving a car to a military family on Sunday.
The Vintage Valley Blue Star Moms, an organization supporting military families, chose airman Quintayvius Newson to be the first Veterans Day recipient .
Contreras said when he called Newson to tell him the news, Newson was dead silent.
“He’s well-trained – they don’t get too excited for things,” said Contreras, laughing.
By Sunday afternoon, however, Newson, his wife and two young children were so excited they blew their own surprise and showed up early.
The staff later unveiled their gift, a custom-made 2007 Toyota Corolla filled with gifts including toys and clothes, car seats, gift cards totaling $650 and paid insurance for one year.
“I appreciate everybody,” Newson said to the staff, donors and mechanics. “It’s a big blessing . . . It’s going to make it easier on my life.”
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.