Veterans and first responders were rewarded during the fifteenth annual Sky Ball "Salute to Heroes celebration.
The group was honored Friday night for their selfless devotion to public service and receiving a big gift. The veterans had no idea what was going to happen. They were taken to the ball by their loved ones under the guise that they were simply attending an event in honor of Veterans Day. They each left with a free car.
The unsuspecting men were sitting in the audience when suddenly their names were called on stage. Moments later, they were presented the keys to their practically-new cars. It's safe to say they were surprised by the big reveal.
The donated vehicles were refurbished by employees at Caliber Collision in North Texas who through their "recycled rides" program give back to military and first responder heroes who have dedicated their lives to serving this county.
The recipients include a Marine veteran who is the main financial provider for his mother and three younger siblings, a Texas Air National Guard reservist whose frequent deployment makes it difficult for him to maintain a steady civilian job and an Erath County Sheriff's Deputy recovering from a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver.
“He was describing the young Marine. And I was like, that kind of sounds like something I've done,” said Lance Corporal Demondre Magee. “So I'm at a loss for words.”
“I have a brand new car, almost something that I can use every day now,” said Master Sgt. Clinton Woodford.
“Big surprise,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Paulsen. “We appreciate it very much!”
The great reveal was done in front of a small crowd of a few thousand people. They cheered on as the shock settled in for these three humble guys.
The veterans were selected by the Airpower Foundation. The vehicles were provided by Allstate Insurance.