Theobald Family Carstars Ceo Hosts "A Soldier's Benefit"'
OVERLAND PARK, KS… Jim West, CEO of the Theobald Family CARSTARs of Ohio, and his wife Donna hosted "A Soldier's Benefit" Oct. 13, raising more than $20,000 that will go toward building a computerized custom house for a wounded veteran of the Iraq War.
Sergeant First Class (SFC) Michael Schlitz was serving in the U.S. Army on Feb. 27, 2007, in the southern Bagdad area on a road-clearing mission to find improvised explosive devices when two artillery shells attached to a propane tank exploded. Schlitz's driver, gunner and medic were killed, and the blast threw Schlitz away from the crew's Humvee. He was burned over 85 percent of his body, lost both arms, spent four months in a medically induced coma and received 80 surgeries.
Schlitz credits his mother, other veterans and "a huge support network" for keeping up his morale throughout the life-changing ordeal. One of those supporters was recently retired Major Marc Messerschmitt, who actively pursued funding SFC Schlitz's housing project with Building for America's Bravest - a non-profit partnership of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation that builds high-tech Smart Homes for disabled veterans. Depending on the person's needs, a Smart Home costs anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 and includes many computerized functions, doorways that accommodate different types of wheelchairs and custom-fitted bathrooms. Donors to the cause can visit the online Smart Home registry at www.buildingforamericasbravest.org, learn about the individuals their money will help and pay for specific features or accessories on an itemized checklist.
Major Messerschmitt spoke to several local businessmen during a Sharonville, OH, Chamber of Commerce luncheon about raising money to help the men and women who have sacrificed so much in the line of duty. In that group was Jim West, who volunteered to host a $50-a-ticket fundraiser at the Five Seasons Sports Club Cincinnati with support from other local companies. Proceeds for the evening and money raised online at www.asoldiersbenefit.org amounted to more than $20,000, all of which will go toward building a Smart Home for Schlitz and his mother in Forston, GA.
"Sergeant First Class Schlitz's story of bravery on the battlefield and his return to civilian life is inspiring to us all," said David Byers, Chief Executive Officer of CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. "We at CARSTAR are very proud to be represented in communities all over America by people like Jim and Donna West."
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts is North America's largest MSO network with more than 410 stores in 31 states and 10 Canadian provinces - and growing. Locations offer an array of services and products for collision repair, including the latest in repair technology, rental vehicles, national warranties on repairs and turnkey service for customers. Franchise owners benefit from the CARSTAR Management Systems, which provides resources to improve key business metrics such as cycle time, participation in CARSTAR's 19 corporately managed DRP programs and improved purchasing power from 45 corporately managed purchasing programs.