Daily Point of Light # 2883 Feb 22, 2005

Joe Lewright is a man with a generous heart, an indomitable spirit and a love for his community.

Two years ago he decided to participate in Akzo Nobel’s National Benevolence Program. Through this program, Akzo Nobel encourages body shops to repair a damaged vehicle and then donate it to a needy family in their community. Akzo Nobel provides the cost of the paint, if the body shop employees volunteer their labor. Joe took the idea one step further encouraging parts vendors to discount the repair parts or donate them if possible. The response was heartwarming.

Asked to help out too, an insurance company donated six months of liability coverage. Joe also enlisted the help of Child, Inc., an organization which promotes responsible parenting. The organization nominated families who needed the cars and the body shop employees selected who would receive the car. The presentation was the week before Christmas. Child, Inc. arranged for media coverage and several local dignitaries were invited to speak. The vendors received plaques honoring their participation. And so no one would feel left out, Joe also made sure there were Christmas gifts for the selected family’s children. The ambiance of that day was smiles and goodwill all around. Joe said he had never felt happier and vowed to do it again in 2003, which he did.

For 2004, Joe challenged other body shops to follow his lead. He has persevered, offering encouragement and assistance when needed. He and a representative of Child, Inc. have spoken on a national level to promote participation. This year in Austin five body shops will give a car to the needy people. Child, Inc. will again be sponsoring the families and coordination the presentation which will be held in a city auditorium in December.

Joe has worked tirelessly on this because he cares for his community and is determined to help where he can. One person can make a difference. One person can be a Point of Light.