TOPEKA (KSNT) – Washburn Institute of Technology donated another refurbished automobile, Tuesday, at the Washburn Tech campus.

This year’s recycled ride, a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country minivan was gifted to Cheilese Thomas of Topeka. This is the 33rd vehicle to be donated in the Topeka community by Washburn Tech’s Recycled Rides program.

“This means everything because I work out on highway 24 and it’s been very challenging getting rides to and from work daily,” said Thomas. “It is nice when you don’t have to burden other people to be able to take care of your own responsibilities.”

“It is my privilege to be part of Recycled Rides,” said Eric Showalter, Washburn Tech Collision Instructor. “We signed on here in 2011 and we weren’t the first school to get involved, but we were the first school to get the first car to the finish line.”

Nonprofit groups in the community encourage qualified individuals or groups to apply for the program. Applications are reviewed by a committee of student volunteers coordinated in association with the United Way of Greater Topeka and Washburn Tech.

“I am so proud of our partnership United Way has with Washburn Tech. and to be able to be a part of this program,” said Jessica Lehnherr, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Topeka.

Washburn Tech was the first educational institution in the nation to participate in Recycled Rides, a National Auto Body Council program. Instructors and students from the auto service and collision repair programs team up with community volunteers to refurbish donated vehicles and get them on the road again.