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Tampa Bay Area military veterans awarded new rides at the perfect time

Progressive's vehicle giveaway now an annual event
Posted at 4:57 PM, Nov 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 16:57:17-05

Two Tampa Bay Area military veterans are getting a surprise just ahead of Veteran's Day.

Each is getting a new car -- recently refurbished -- for free!

The gift is made possible because many companies in the Tampa Bay Area united their efforts, donating time and money towards what has become an annual tradition.

First the vehicles were donated by by Insurance Auto Auctions. 

Then they were refurbished by Caliber Collision and Stingray Chevrolet Collision Center. 

The non-profit organization Tampa Crossroads, which helps Veterans and their families with housing, employment and counseling, helped by taking applications from Veterans in need. 

Progressive Insurance helps to organize and host the event, as well as donate money.

Narry Denton, who served in Iraq in the years following the attack on 9/11, has been commuting 40 miles by bus each day after his car broke down.

"Everyday you wake up at 3 a.m. make sure you're on the bus by 4. You ride it two hours then you repeat the process on the way home," Denton tells ABC Action News. "For me, some days I didn't have enough money for the bus so I rode my bike."

Denton is now the deserving new owner of a refurbished Nissan SUV.

"It's incredible. Brand new car. Gives your family an opportunity to move forwards," says Denton.

The other recipient of a newly refurbished SUV is Air Force Veteran Barry Sullivan, who has been commuting by bus to his night shift job as a security officer.

"This is unbelievable. This is a Godsend," says Sullivan. 

Progressive does this event all over the country, coordinating the donation of 100 vehicles on November 9 across the U.S. This is the fifth year Progressive has organized this nationwide donation event, totaling 500 donated vehicles during that span.

The donation in the Tampa area happened this morning at the Progressive Insurance Campus in Riverview.

Donation recipients have to show that they either don't own a vehicle or show they have a hardship with their current vehicle, and would benefit greatly from having a new vehicle. The Veterans must also show they have a clean driving record, valid driver's license, and would be able to pay for insurance coverage, says Progressive.