Helping a single mom in her struggle to better the lives of her family is exactly what Western Nevada College automotive instructor Dennis Marshall envisioned when he assumed responsibility for restoring a wrecked car in time for the holidays.
“I’m really excited about this project, especially this time of the year. The joy of being there to watch the family get the car will make everything well-worth it,” Marshall said.
On Saturday, in WNC’s E.L. Cord Automotive Technology Center, the work by Marshall and his students, along with the contributions of others, was rewarded when the restored 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt was presented to Miriam Silis of Carson City.
The charitable project was created through a partnership between the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program, the Capital City Circles Initiative and WNC.
A Capital City Circles committee selected Silis to receive the Cobalt. The nonprofit helps families develop a plan to reach financial self-sufficiency by associating them with successful people in the community who offer support and guidance.
Silis has three children attending different schools in the community and has an older vehicle that has become less and less reliable. She became involved with Circles in 2012, completing a 20-week course titled “Getting Ahead.”
“During my participation in Circles, I have experienced growth, I am not as shy as I used to be and I have found people that I can trust and that believe in me,” Silis said.
After having her full-time job trimmed to part-time status, Silis enrolled in classes to become a tax preparer. She is also attending WNC part time with the ambition of becoming a high school Spanish teacher.
“I want to reach my educational and personal goals and see my kids be successful, having a career. This Recycled Rides award will help make it more possible,” she said.
Marshall assumed the majority of the project’s labor — an estimated 60 hours — since some of the repairs were complicated and time-consuming. Instructor Mark Leonard took care of painting the vehicle. The instructors, however, did receive help with block-sanding and applying Bondo to the body of the Cobalt from students such as Donny McKay, Alex Garic, James Dempsey and Bob Andreasen to complete the car’s reconstruction.
State Farm donated the Cobalt to NABC’s Recycled Rides program for WNC to restore last spring. Recycled Rides has restored nearly 1,000 vehicles nationally in the program’s seven years of existence. The program commonly accepts vehicles 3 to 8 years old with less than 100,000 miles from insurers, rental car companies and individuals.