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Vet Car Event

Source: Donnie Burgess / Donnie Burgess

INDIANAPOLIS — Veterans give their time, and sometimes their lives, to protect you and the country. Tuesday, two veterans received a gift that could help change their lives for the better.

The National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program provides cars for people in need, and that’s exactly what happened Tuesday on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis.

Insurance companies donate the cars, local body shops fix them up, and the NABC steps in to find a worthy veteran charity.

The two people selected this time around were Mr. John Brewer and Mr. Anthony Johnson.

Anthony Johnson is a United States Navy veteran who was stationed on the USS America as an E3 from 1980 to 1983. Johnson got a hip infection a few years ago, which left him confined to a wheelchair. He’s tried to hold down several jobs, but that “reliable transportation” part of the application has always cost him a potential high-paying job.

John Brewer is a United States Army veteran who was stationed in Korea from 1983 to 1986. Brewer now takes care of his 16-year-old son and uses everything from Uber and public transportation to make a living.

For John Brewer, Tuesday’s event was proof that doing good for others will eventually do good for you.

“Things I’ve done for other people, I’ve just done because it was the right thing,” Brewer said Tuesday, “it’s come back to me, and this is an example.”

John Brewer says he moved to Indianapolis in 2008 with his brother-in-law to start a business. It didn’t pan out, and his brother-in-law eventually passed away. Brewer, a single parent of a 16-year-old boy, started jumping from job to job to make ends meet. He would carry groceries on IndyGo buses, and even spent time homeless.

“Being a single parent is challenging. Without a car, it’s even more challenging, but we were able to work it out,” Brewer explains.

Brewer kept busy and networked with other veterans before finding Helping Veterans and Families of Indiana, or HVAF. They were contacted by the National Auto Body Council, and by the end of the day Tuesday, Brewer had his own car.

“All those muddy days in Korea on that tank, it paid off. We (veterans serving) don’t do it for a political agenda, we don’t do it for a president. We do that for you all. Whatever they (government) have planned for us, we don’t know, but our plan is to protect you.”

At age 59, John Brewer says he’s going to put this car to use, make money and get a high-paying job. His dream is to ride off into the sunset in Costa Rica.