Clifton Auto Body Shop Part of a Larger Program That Changes Lives, One Car at a Time


photo credit: Barbara James

The Clifton Times was invited to attend an event that celebrated the true spirit of community. New Trimble Auto Body paired up with a number of different organizations to ensure that two worthy New Jersey residents would receive a gift that could literally change their lives around – fully refurbished cars, plus a generous gas gift card. The donations were made possible by the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program, an 18-year-old program that helps people in need with their transportation issues. This program, which organizes collision industry facilities such as New Trimble together with insurance companies, paint suppliers, parts and labor vendors – anything it takes to get a preowned car back to like-new roadworthy shape – then ensures that these like-new cars get donated nationally to individuals in need of some wheels.

In most areas of New Jersey automobiles are needed to get to and from work, school, shopping, and more. Most of us take reliable transportation for granted and don’t have to rely on public transit or ride-sharing, which is a costly option. However, buying a car is also expensive, so this program helps those needing transportation to receive one as a gift, giving them the freedom to travel where and whenever needed.

New Trimble Auto Body, located at 214 Trimble Avenue in the Lakeview section has been in business since 1985. This is the second year they have participated in this program and they are hoping to stay involved for future projects. The two cars were donated by Geico Insurance to New Trimble Auto Body, who donated parts and labor; Geico also provided the required auto insurance to the two recipients. Members of the Clifton Police and Fire Departments, including Clifton Chief of Police Thomas Rinaldi and Lodi Chief of Police Donald Scorzetti, as well as employees of all the facilities who'd volunteered their time to refurbish the cars, attended the short ceremony. Other dignitaries included former Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi and current Mayor Ray Grabowski, the latter who spoke briefly and thanked all involved in getting deserving New Jersey residents the wheels they needed.

Clifton Mayor Ray Grabowski

The recipients of the donated Chevy SUV and Subaru sedan were both military veterans. Dickens Dumont served in the Army for three years and in the reserves for four. He attended Montclair State University, graduating with a degree in film. Diamonique Swindle spent four years with the Air Force and worked full-time in various capacities, and is currently enrolled in a program specializing in dentistry. Both were excellent candidates for the program, as lack of transportation hindered their abilities to provide for their families in the way they wanted. Large ceremonial keys were presented to them by Anzaldi and Grabowski, who both spoke afterward of the appreciation for the veterans’ service and the program that gives back and betters communities, not just individuals.

Following the ceremony, everyone involved was treated to lunch catered by the Portuguese Tavern and the conversation flowed freely. It’s hoped that next year, the recipients of the cars will be from Clifton.

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