Veterans Receive Free Cars
Three months ago, Peter Maher, owner of Mid Hudson Subaru, received a call from Elaine Trumpetto, Executive Director of The Council on Addiction Prevention and Education of Dutchess County (CAPE) and Subaru customer. Her family had a gift to give and needed help to get it done.
Elaine lost her husband of 36 years, John Trumpetto, when he died suddenly in September of 2016. As she and her daughter Brynna Trumpetto went through John’s things they discovered he had once donated a car to the National Vietnam Veterans Association. They decided then to donate their two black Subaru Imprezas, valued around $5K each, to local veterans in his honor.
Elaine began the process of making calls and months went by with no outcome. That’s when she thought to give Peter Maher a call. A longtime customer of Mid Hudson Subaru, she knew Peter’s charitable reputation and thought he might be able to help.
Peter has long supported local veterans. In 2017, Mid Hudson Subaru presented the Hudson Valley Hero Project with a check for over $60,000 to support local active and retired veterans in need as part of the Subaru Share the Love initiative. Mid Hudson Subaru is proud to employ veterans as technicians, sales consultants and in other positions.
He reached out to Mike Hansen, a member of the Advisory Board of the Hudson Valley Veterans Alliance. Hansen immediately reached out to the folks he works with at HVVA and the local Vet2Vet Program to connect the Trumpetto family with local veterans in need of cars.
Mike's son, Tim Hansen of Mystic Towing, donated his time to pick up the two Imprezas, which had been sitting in the Trumpetto’s driveway for over a year, and bring them to Mid Hudson Subaru. Peter asked for technicians to volunteer their time to work on getting the donated cars tuned up and ready for the road, and Scott Woomer, US Navy, and Jesus Rodriguez stepped forward.
Mid Hudson Subaru supplied the parts, at a cost of approximately $1500 for each car, and Scott and Jesus did the work in their spare time on nights and weekends.
Finally, the cars were fully detailed, inspected, topped with red bows, American car flags and colorful balloons, and parked in front of the dealership.
On Thursday, Dec. 20 at 3:30 PM Peter Maher had the honor of presenting a reconditioned Subaru Impreza, donated by the previous owner, Brynna Trumpetto, to Jayme Babon. A US Army veteran, National Guard Reservist and single mom, Jayme has been struggling to adjust back to civilian life and has been walking to work every day. Jayme welled up with tears as she expressed her surprise and gratitude, saying, “I am very blessed to have you all in my life... this will help myself and my son to move on, to move forward!”
A second Impreza, once belonging to Jared Trumpetto, is being donated to Kyle Feth, USMC, of Pleasant Valley. Kyle was unable to attend the event at Mid Hudson Subaru and exclaimed “you guys are really unbelievable!” as he broke down crying when he got the news via a phone call from the Vet2Vet Program under the direction of Adam Roche.
Everyone in attendance, including State Sen. Sue Serino and Marc Coviello, Director of Dutchess County Division of Veterans’ Services, was visibly moved by the kindness and generosity of the people who made this happen, and especially by Jayme’s genuine appreciation. After she started her new car, Jayme took the time to share hugs and handshakes.
“I just can’t wait for my son to see me driving again... this is going to mean so much to him!” Jayme said.
“Thank you so much for getting us involved,” Peter Maher said to Elaine Trumpetto. “It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to show our deep respect and appreciation for veterans this way, especially at this time of year.”
He then turned to Jayme to say “Thank you for your service, and Merry Christmas!”
Information on the Vet2Vet program in Dutchess County can be found at https://mhadutchess.org/vet2vet-resource-office/