Palm Springs, CA – Sterling Keith is a soldier’s soldier. Over the course of his military career spanning three decades, he has served four tours in Iraq with the United States’ National Guard and Navy. In that same time, he has also served as an Auto Body Technician and that’s where the Collision Industry Foundation comes in. While deployed overseas, Sterling’s technician tools were stolen. Coming back from war, he needed a way to continue to provide for his family and CIF gave him the opportunity to do so by gifting him a SnapOn® toolbox and tools at the recent Collision Industry Conference meeting in Palm Springs, California.
Presented in front of a large audience by CIF Board members, Sterling and his wife Rebecca, received a standing ovation from a very emotional audience. Hearing his story has since inspired others to express interest in the works of CIF and the future of giving back to those who need it most.
Sterling gave his thoughts on receiving the donation, saying, “On behalf of me, my family and my wife; I want to say a huge thank you to Operation Comfort, Nick Notte, Snap-On Tools and the Collision Industry Foundation for all they have done for us. From making it possible for us to attend a great conference in sunny Palm Springs, CA where we met some of the industry’s best, to a generous donation of tools & a custom tool box. With the replacement of my tools I will be able to not only support my family but hopefully pay it forward by working to bring awareness of the industry to other soldiers/veterans through programs like Automotivation which is run by Operation Comfort in San Antonio, TX. Soldiers who have PTSD &/or TBI (traumatic brain injury) like me, can benefit from taking a damaged vehicle (kinda like our internal wounds) and working on it (therapy), and making it beautiful again (progress).”
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this incredible gift happen for a very deserving Soldier,” commented Janis Roznowski, Founder & Executive Director for Operation Comfort. “Sterling is a very nice guy, quiet and unassuming and a very upstanding man who is always willing to help.”
CIF President Bill Shaw encourages those in the industry to help the mission and vision of the organization come to fruition, saying, “This one donation is a glimpse into what the Foundation has done throughout its lifetime. There have been many technicians who have lost tools or their livelihood who have been assisted by our programs, including victims of hurricanes, fires or floods. Helping Sterling Keith to be a contributing member of our industry, after serving our country for so long, is something the entire CIF Board is proud of.”