Dealership joins campaign to give veterans trucks

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 2, 2015

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A local auto dealership and a network of supporters recently arranged a gift for two Michigan veterans who were injured while in service to their country.

On Oct. 23, Romeo Ford gave the keys to new Ford F-150 pickup trucks to each of the veterans in cooperation with a couple of other organizations. In addition, the dealership gave a $4,000 donation to assist veterans. 

According to Romeo Ford General Manager Allison Brewer, the dealership was connected to the veterans through Wounded Warriors Family Support after the UAW from the Ford Romeo Engine Plant approached the dealership about the idea.

“Actually, the engine plant came to us, asked if we were willing to work with this, and we jumped to the opportunity,” Brewer said. “We donate to many causes around the community, but we’ve never been able to do something on this grand scale.”

The campaign to fund the truck donations was called Operation Corder/Harden and was named after the two veterans.

Brewer said Derrick Harden, from Lewiston, served in the Army and was injured by a car bomb in Iraq. Cameron Corder, who lives in Clio, served in Afghanistan as a medic when he was injured while he was treating a Marine. 

Brewer said the vets were very excited about receiving the trucks, adding that she has been working with them for around a month and a half to work out the details.

“They came and picked up their trucks on Friday,” she said.  “Both families were very excited about all the space in the back seat.”

She said the veterans both picked F-150s that were magnetic gray in color, but each truck was tailored to its family’s needs, such as having a crew cab for children. To accommodate the driver’s needs, one of the trucks required a left-foot accelerator, which was installed with the help of Gresham Driving Aids, from Wixom, Brewer said.

Ron Julianelle, High Five Tour coordinator for Wounded Warriors Family Support, said his organization has helped veterans across the country acquire vehicles such as F-150s and Ford Explorers through its High Five Tour 2015 campaign. The donated vehicles are often specially equipped to suit mobility needs, he said. 

Julianelle said that in response, the veterans are ecstatic, really humble and appreciative of the help that they get. 

“A lot of them have vehicles that are pretty old, and they need a lot of repair,” he said. “They can get a nice new vehicle that can be reliable for them and their family.”

Romeo Ford is located at 63300 Van Dyke Ave. in Romeo. Learn more by visiting www.romeofordinc.net or by calling (586) 752-5500. Find out more about Wounded Warriors Family Support by visiting www.wwfs.org.

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