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Rob Gronkowski and USAA gifted a special truck to a wounded Army vet

Miguel Ortiz Avatar
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Gronkowski with Flores, his family and their specially modified Recycled Ride (USAA)

For its 100th anniversary, USAA teamed up with the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program to gift 100 vehicles to military and veteran families in need. Many of these vehicles went to veterans who lost limbs in the service of their country. To meet their unique needs, the vehicles were specially retrofitted to enhance their mobility. While the 99th and 100th Recycled Rides were gifted at the Army-Navy Game Media Row, the 87th vehicle was gifted in Tampa, Florida with #87 himself, Rob Gronkowski.

The 87th Recycled Ride went to Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Jonny Flores. He served in Iraq as an M249 dismount and .50-cal gunner. On July 4, 2007, Flores was wounded by an IED in Baghdad. As a result of the blast, Flores’ mobility is now restricted by a wheelchair. With this in mind, the truck gifted to him was specially fitted to be wheelchair compatible.

Gronkowski surprised Flores at USAA‘s Crosstown location in Tampa, Florida and handed him the keys to his Recycled Ride. After the Super Bowl champion thanked Flores for his service, the two went to check out Flores’ new ride. “This means a lot to me, to be able to get my independence and get in and out of this [vehicle] with ease,” Flores told Gronkowski. The modified truck also features a mechanical arm in the bed that pivots to the front of the cab to pick up and load Flores’ wheelchair. “That wheelchair thing is something else,” he said of it.

Having reliable transportation that accommodates Flores’ disability will improve his quality of life and that of his family. “This is a game changer,” Flores said. “I can already see how many trips and things we’re gonna do with the family. I’m so excited, I can’t thank you guys enough for this!”