Minn. Soldier Surprised With New Car Donation

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota soldier has new ride and some piece of mind. He got the car as part of a national program to say thank you for military service.

The white Pontiac was wrapped like a present — a gift a few days before Flag Day for specialist Paul Wagner and his family.

“I’m honestly dumfounded really, surprised,” he said. “This kind of stuff doesn’t happen to me.”

Wagner has been a national guardsman since 2006. Served a year in Iraq. And needed a new vehicle.

“It’s kind of one of those where you look in the rear view mirror and you’re looking for bolts bouncing down the road,” he said.

His new 2001 Grand Prix is a nice upgrade.

It was stolen and recovered by Progressive, fixed up by Gale’s Auto Body in Blaine and donated as part of the Recycled Rides program.

“It’s got all the tricks, leather interior, heated seats, airbags, got a nice aftermarket stereo,” said Scott Weber, of Progressive Insurance.

And instead of options, this window sticker had other donations — gift cards, oil changes, gas cards and six months of insurance, donated by other businesses to say thank you for his service.

“I honestly don’t expect things like this,” Wagner said. “I’m serving because it’s something I want to do.”

Progressive also donated cars to military families at 58 other locations, including its service center in Burnsville.

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