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Soldier, father given free car after 13 years of service

Posted: 4:58 PM, May 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-02 17:28:52-04

BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A soldier has a new car thanks to the generosity and hard work of a team of mechanics and business owners.

For the last 13 years, Sgt. Michael Yelding has put his country above himself, serving a deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom and now in the Michigan National Guard.

“I always want to feel like I’m making a difference,” Yelding said.

When he’s not at drills, he works overnight as a security guard. He and his wife have been sharing a car to get to work and take care of their two children, so things have been tight for the Yeldings.

On Thursday, life got a little bit easier for the family when Yelding got to take home a 2015 Chevrolet Malibu at no cost thanks to several generous people and groups in the community.

The process started when the Michigan National Guard Family Programs Office was approached by Recycled Rides to choose a veteran to get a new car. Yelding was at the top of the list.

Mechanics at Carstar 76 Collision put dozens of hours of free labor into repairing the vehicle with thousands of dollars’ worth of donated parts.

“It’s exciting for us,” Carstar owner Mark Vandenhout said. “You know, we love to give back, and that’s what we’re here for.”

All the people and groups who helped the car come together were at the big reveal on Thursday to say thank you for all the sacrifices Yelding has made.

“I’m ecstatic. I can’t say thank you enough,” Yelding said. “Everyone that’s been a part of this to ensure this got done. Yeah, I’m speechless.”