Local veterans receive refurbished rides through national program

KPTV photo.

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - It was an exciting day for two local veterans, who went home with refurbished cars thanks to a program called “Keys to Progress.”

Angela Schultze and Sarah Kemp said Thursday they were very grateful to have been chosen as recipients.

Schultze served in the U.S. Army right out of high school. She had an old van but it was breaking down. She lives in The Dalles and needs reliable transportation to get to medical appointments in Portland.

Now, with her newly refurbished Kia, she can do that and visit family in other parts of the state.

“It’s a 2015 and it has less than 12,000 miles on it,” Schultze said, smiling. “I’m so excited to drive it!”

The other recipient, Sarah Kemp, served in the U.S. Air Force.

She has twin 8-year-old boys who were born 10 weeks early. They still spend a lot of time at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and her newly refurbished car, a Chevy Malibu, will help her get to appointments and travel more as a family.

She’s also getting her master’s degree in social work and wants to help others by working at the V.A. in Vancouver, so the car will also help her attend classes.

Her little boys couldn’t wait to crawl into their car seats in the back of their new ride.

“They just want to be able to get out and go places, to the mountain or the ocean, and right now, we don’t get to do a ton of that because our really old Ford is on its last leg,” Kemp said. “It means freedom for my boys and I, but it also means that I can give back to fellow veterans.”

This is the sixth year of Progressive Insurance’s “Keys to Progress” program.

Across the country Thursday, similar ceremonies were held in 65 cities to honor 100 veterans.

The recipients have to apply to the program, then Progressive works with local veteran-based charities and the V.A. to determine the people who are the most deserving and in the greatest need.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, roughly 40% of U.S. veterans live in rural areas, which means affordable transportation options are limited and they usually have to travel a great distance to get to things like medical appointments, employment centers and other services.

To learn more about the program or apply in the future, visit Progressive's website.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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