Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) - Baker Collision Express, an auto body collision repair business that has been serving the community since 1953, gave a beautifully restored car to a Gold Star Mother in need of reliable transportation Wednesday. They did this by participation in Recycled Rides, a nationwide vehicle gifting program that gives vehicles to those in need.
According to their website, Recycled Rides is a nationwide community service project whereby members of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) repair and donate recycled vehicles to families and service organizations in need in their own communities. A “green” program highlighting vehicle and parts recycling, Recycled Rides recruits collision repairers, insurers, paint suppliers, parts vendors and others to contribute in their own way. When a car is donated, it is a culmination of a partnership between a number of sources who all provide valuable resources in their area of expertise.
Recently, the Baker family who owns and operates Baker Collision Express at three locations in the Midlands, identified Gold Star Mother Dianne Massey as the person who would receive the car. Massey’s son Sgt. Joshua C. Blaney served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army and was killed in action in Afghanistan on December 12, 2007. The Baker Collision Express family, supported by our community and other partners, honored her son’s service and recognized the 10th anniversary of her loss, when they presented her the car.
In an ironic twist, Ms. Massey immediately turned and gave the car to her daughter, Sgt. Blaney’s sister Carley. According to Massey, Carley was just 20 months different in age from her brother Josh. When he died, it hit Carley especially hard as the pair was extremely close. Carley, now in her 30’s, is a single mother with two children. Her car was near the end of its useful life and she was in desperate need of a new one. Her mother said that the gift of the car from the Bakers was one orchestrated by God and the gift of the car allowed her the opportunity to bless her daughter by then giving it to her.
In 2017, USAA Insurance donated the 2012 Toyota Camry and Baker Collision Express refurbished the vehicle to pristine condition. They use a unique system of auto body repair that includes computers that are tied in to the manufacturers of most vehicle. Through this system, and by using equipment recommended by the manufacturers, Baker can make a damaged car factory new again. This is especially important working to ensure that modern safety systems like airbags deploy as they are designed to protect a car’s occupants in the event of a collision. In the case of the donation on Wednesday, Ms. Massey was being presented a car that will be as good as one that just rolled out of the factory!
In addition to USAA that donated the car, a number of area businesses donated equipment, tires, and even gift cards for gasoline and other useful items to the family through the project. They include businesses like J.T’s Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep, Jim Hudson Toyota, and Enterprise Rent A Car
In his remarks when the car was presented, Larry Baker, the owner of Baker Collision Express said, “There’s so much negative news today, I think it’s our responsibility to make positive news.” Baker's son Steve, the comptroller of the company, actually presented the keys to the new car to the Masseys.
The Lexington High School Air Force JROTC presents the colors and leads the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance
Steve Baker explain the Recycled Rides program and introduce everyone to Baker Collision Express
Larry Baker tells the crowd, “There’s so much negative news today, I think it’s our responsibility to make positive news.”