Local business owners donating used car to local veteran

Local business owners donating used car to local veteran

Bill Gately, left, and Dave Lambert, right, owners of Henri’s Auto Repair in Woonsocket, are pictured with Jim Collins, president of New Englanders Helping Our Veterans, in front of the 2001 Ford Taurus they plan to raffle off to a veteran. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)
Drawing will be held March 8

WOONSOCKET – Bill Gately and Dave Lambert, co-owners of Henri’s Auto Repair on Park Avenue in Woonsocket, are hoping to put a new set of keys in the hands of one local veteran.

On March 8, the business owners will draw a name from a list of local veterans in need. The winner will receive a 2001 Ford Taurus that recently underwent a full overhaul by the repair shop.

Gately explained the initiative started in 2019 when a customer was looking to get rid of an old car. The repair shop accepted the vehicle but instead of junking it, they enlisted the help of a local auto parts store to contribute parts. After some hard work on the part of their staff, the vehicle was ready to head back onto the road and make a difference for a veteran.

“It only sets us back time,” he explained. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re lucky enough to have a business that’s surviving through this pandemic thing. Let’s pass it on.”

That first vehicle went to a 24-year Marine veteran who had lost his apartment in Woonsocket and was living in a camper in Connecticut. Now, for their second donation, Gately said they’re looking to find another veteran who could use a leg up.

“We basically just take a car that’s still roadworthy but needs the work and put the work into it and donate it,” he said.

To compile the list of names, they’ve partnered with New Englanders Helping Our Veterans, a nonprofit organization based out of Burrillville. Jim Collins, president of the organization and a U.S. Army veteran, said they’d received 60 applications as of Monday. Collins vets the applications and puts the names into a raffle to be drawn on March 8 during a live broadcast on WOON Radio.

“We help the guys who fall between the cracks, mostly,” he added.

Gately said the drawing is open to all area veterans who demonstrate a need for a free vehicle. His own father-in-law served during World War II, while his brother-in-law served in Vietnam and his nephew in Iraq.

“These are people who have served our country, served it well,” he said. “There’s not enough help out there for them. I see veterans sleeping in the street, and that’s something that bothers me.”

This latest vehicle, he said, came to the shop by way of a customer who’d put over 200,000 miles on it commuting to Boston. While it’s had its share of use, Gately said it’s a solid vehicle that could have a second life in the hands of a new owner. The repair shop staff put close to $4,000 worth of work into it between labor and parts donated by their sponsors, including Autoparts International, Inferno Audio, North Smithfield Auto Body, New England Farms, WOON Radio and the Gamache family.

For those who don’t prove lucky in this drawing, Gately said they’ve already got a vehicle lined up for their next donation. They’re hoping to raffle that vehicle off in a drawing on Veterans Day in November.

Veterans interested in submitting their names can contact Collins at mediarelations@nehov.org or call Henri’s Auto Repair at 401-762-2325.


What a wonderful thing to do! God bless you all.