UPDATE 2/26/2014 6:20 PM
Great news for one local program trying to help some of our nation's heroes.
Operation Give A Veteran A Car gives struggling veterans the keys to a new set of wheels, but this May, those "wheels" also come with a pair of "wings".
The Marietta organization is partnering with The Freedom Museum of Manassas, Virginia.
The museum hosts the Wounded Warrior Air Show each spring.
Now, some 10,000 people will also get to see a struggling veteran receive a free car, like Bill Hagy of Marietta.
The 57-year-old became the program's first recipient on Christmas day.
Organizers say they're thrilled to expand their cause in such a big way.
"There's no price tag on a veterans worth until you've been there, you know. These people are always homesick when they're fighting on the battlefront. They don't get a lot of recognition they way it is and this is just our way of saying, 'hey, thanks for what you do and we're here to help'," says Gene Venham, with Operation Give A Veteran A Car.
Venham says restoring the cars will cost between $500 and $1,500 per vehicle.
A lot of that comes from donations.
A local vet down on his luck gets his own car this Christmas.
57-year-old William R. Hagy of Marietta was given the keys to his own Toyota Camry Wednesday afternoon at the VFW on Pike Street.
Hagy is the first beneficiary of Operation Give A Veteran A Car.
The Marietta program targets local vets in need.
Organizers say the 22 year Navy and National Guard veteran was the perfect choice.
"We went through a process of five veterans. We went through a process of screening them," says Alfred Venham. "And Bill excelled out of that process."
"Usually I'm used to just sitting in the apartment building so... this is a different surprise," says Hagy.
Organizers spent the past couple months renovating the 2002 Camry model to make it look brand new for Wednesday's giveaway.
The car was presented in memory of Lieutenant Christoper Rutherford.
The Newport veteran was 25 when he fell in Iraq 6 years ago.
As for Hagy, he's been riding a bicycle to get around town for the past two years.
Fortunately, the new year brings him a new ride as a thank you for his service.
Organizers also say "Operation Give A Vet A Car" is looking to give away more vehicles and in a bigger way in the new year.
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