For millions of Americans, the availability of public transportation is the determining factor in their ability to access jobs and any care they require. For a lot of those people, they either live outside the range of public transit or the places they need to go to are outside of public transit zones, making them miss those opportunities and forcing them to walk for miles to get where they need to go. Since 1996, Cars 4 Heroes has been addressing that need.
“We are trying to raise awareness about our program to hopefully help many in Florida in the future,” said Terry Franz, co-founder of Cars 4 Heroes. “I travel to Florida a lot because I love it, and we also want to make the community aware of what we do for our veterans.”
Franz and fellow co-founder Mike Van Noy owned Car Biz, a used-car lot in Kansas City, Missouri. There had been a lot of people looking to purchase a car, only to be turned down by credit companies because they were out of work due to medical emergencies, family issues or other circumstances in life.
It was Christmas time when Franz and Van Noy gave away six cars to families that in the past had been denied. A few years later, Franz got out of Car Biz and started Cars 4 Christmas full time, earning him the nickname ‘Car Santa.’ As time would go on, he saw the need in Kansas City increasing more and more, and that is where Cars 4 Heroes came from. Now, Car Santa gives away over 300 cars a year just in the Kansas City metro alone.
“On Veterans Day, we awarded nine vehicles in three cities,” Franz said. “We awarded vehicles to three local Tampa veterans this past Veterans Day at the American Legion on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, and they were Natalie Marcano, Jonathan Fernandez and Freddy Asencio. We have done this for 27 years and award about 300 vehicles a year across the nation and now in Tampa.”
Cars 4 Heroes’ cause is to repair donated vehicles and provide them to people in need.
“We take vehicles of all makes, models and ages,” Franz said. “It is easy to donate a car, truck or van to Cars 4 Heroes online or by phone.”
If you would like to learn more about Cars 4 Heroes, you can visit its website at www.cars4heroes.org or call Franz at 913-244-0582.