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Steve Grimshaw, CEO of Caliber Collision, is one of five recipients of this year’s America Future Series 5 Star Award for his efforts to support active military members and veterans through employment and philanthropic efforts.

Grimshaw has led Caliber in the donation of more than 80 vehicles during the past four years through the Recycled Rides program and has created partnerships with a number of different military organizations, including Carry the Load, Allies in the Service, Heroes on the Water and Support the Enlisted Project (STEP). Grimshaw has also been a part of Caliber’s development of a collision repair military training program, a part of the Veteran’s Opportunity to Work Act.

What did winning the America Future Series 5 Star Award mean to you?
It was an honor to receive this award acknowledging our care and support for our military heroes whose core values closely align with Caliber’s. These values include discipline, integrity, honesty, commitment, courage and service leadership. The recognition was an affirmation that we’re on the right path with the things we are doing to support the military.

Why is it so important to you that Caliber supports the military?
The military and their families represent by far the largest customer base that we serve. This is mainly because of the communities that we serve in the U.S. and the large military presence in those communities. Our mission is to be the collision repair provider of choice in every community that we serve. This means that we want to be the first choice for customers, insurance carriers and also be the employer of choice.

With the U.S. military shedding more than 250,000 soldiers over the next three years, these American heroes need our help transitioning out of their military lives and into productive civilian lives. In many cases, these vets need a helping hand in transitioning to civilian life, including reliable transportation and quality jobs. These future vets represent ideal new hires given that their core values align so well with Caliber’s: do the right thing, be inspired to serve, be proud, be courageous, and have fun.

How did you get started with these military programs?
They have grown over time through both national and local efforts. The Recycled Rides program was implemented four years ago as a way to provide reliable transportation to those in need. We worked with the National Auto Body Council to develop the Recycled Rides program, which was created to be second to none in the collision repair industry.

Our first Recycled Rides donation occurred at our Keller, Texas, location. We gifted a refurbished vehicle to a military veteran identified by Roger Staubach’s Allies in the Service Organization in Dallas. Over the past four years, Caliber Collision has donated more than 80 vehicles valued at approximately $800,000 through its Recycled Rides program to active service and military veterans across the U.S.

What are all of the programs that Caliber participates in to support the Military?
Caliber is very involved in supporting active military personnel and military veterans across the U.S. through our Recycled Ride program, where recipients are identified by local and national military service organizations. Among others, Caliber also participates in Carry the Load, The Raider Project, Soldier for Life Programs, and Hire Our Heroes.

How does participating in these initiatives benefit Caliber and make it a stronger company?
This goes back to the caliber of talent that the military represents and the benefit that they bring to any organization that they join. It also gives our current team members a profound sense of purpose and pride to help veterans. Just watch the Caliber Recycled Ride videos that we have up on YouTube. Watch the smiles and the tears that come when our technicians that have donated their time to repairing the vehicle get to meet the recipient for the first time. It’s priceless.

When our Caliber teammates gift a vehicle to a military family, it lifts that Caliber shop up. When news goes out to all of the other Calibers in the region, it lifts the region up. When news hits Caliber’s Facebook page, it lifts the whole company up.

Caliber’s first core value is to do the right thing. Getting involved in our local communities is part of that. Our second value is to be inspired to serve. Our Recycled Rides program is one of the foundations of Caliber’s second core value.

Are there any new initiatives we can expect from Caliber?
Caliber has developed the first-ever collision repair military training program around the Veteran’s Opportunity to Work Act. The program will train active duty service members prior to separation. In addition to this 18-week hands-on training, Caliber’s Changing Lanes initiative will include a proprietary family outreach program that is designed specifically for children and significant others of service members.

Caliber is also actively working with the military at Fort Bragg in North Carolina to recruit and train more than 50 active duty service members for Caliber center manager, technician, and customer service jobs in 2016. Over the course of this year, the program will be expanded to Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in Texas and Camp Pendleton in California.

What advice would you give to other MSOs that want to get involved in supporting the military or another cause?
Most other MSOs are involved in supporting the military. They recognize the benefits as well. There are numerous organizations all over the country that represent a great conduit between the collision repair service and the military. Take advantage of them.

What have you learned working with these programs?
What we’ve learned is that there is nothing that creates more joy and tears of happiness than giving back to the community with our heads, hearts and hands. We use our heads to work with our insurance partners to find vehicles that we can repair and gift to a worthy military family in need. We use our hearts when we work with local military nonprofits to identify military families in need. And with the help of our local supplier partners, we use our hands to repair the Recycled Ride vehicles back to pre-accident condition.

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