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CREF to help rebuild school collision program destroyed by tornado

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PALM SPRINGS, CALIF., Jan. 12, 2012—The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) launched an initiative to help rebuild Joplin, Mo.-based Franklin Technology Center’s collision program after the school was destroyed by a tornado in May 2011, the CREF announced Thursday during a presentation at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting in Palm Springs, Calif.

Franklin Technology Center after being hit by an F5 tornado.

The CREF said everything inside Franklin Technology Center, which housed programming for many trade programs, was destroyed by the tornado. The tornado took out the collision repair facility, all of the training grounds, and all of its tools and equipment.

Franklin Technology Center applied for the CREF’s 2011 Ultimate Collision Makeover Grant, but the school’s needs far exceed the $50,000 awarded through the grant, said Scott Kruger, executive director of the CREF. The school needs all new tools, equipment and supplies for its collision program.

“Everything is completely gone, everything you could imagine,” Kruger said.

The CREF is asking for cash, equipment, tool and supply donations from members of all segments of the collision repair industry. Contact Brandon Eckenrode, associate director of development for the CREF, for more information on the school’s specific needs.

“For us, this is not a school makeover because there is nothing to makeover. This is a ‘make new’ project,” Kruger said. “Franklin Technology Center is a fantastic school with a very committed faculty, and has a very strong record of training and placing entry-level technicians within our industry. They can use all the help they can get.”

Franklin Technology Center is currently operating out of a temporary facility, and is rebuilding with federal financial assistance, according to the CREF. The construction project is scheduled to take roughly three years.

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