UFV automotive program gives refinished car away

After a 10-hour-makeover, students give a refurbished vehicle to community member

Shannon Babb and her son sit in a refinished car

Shannon Babb and her son sit in a refinished car

Students from the University of the Fraser Valley’s automotive collision repair and refinishing program put their skills to good use, refinishing a car in one day and then giving it away.

Nick Penner, instructor of the program, gathered donations for the project, which would be completed at the UFV Trades and Technology open house at the Canada Education Park in Chilliwack on March 14. Mertin GM came through with a Chevy Cavalier and Fortin’s Supply provided paint and other supplies. Tom Thompson donated a new windshield, and Ken’s Tire and Wheel provided new tires and rims.

“I thought that refinishing a car and giving it away in one day would be a good way to highlight our program. It would also help out a recipient who could use some reliable transportation,” said Nick Penner, instructor of the program.

Penner and eight of his students completed the a 10-hour-makeover. They did in one day what usually takes many hours over several days, compressing the process of taking apart the vehicle, sanding it down, completing bodywork, and painting it. The students involved in the project are from Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission.

“It was a nice little project for the students… For one day of concentrated effort, they get some nice results, and the satisfaction of seeing someone benefit from their labour.”

The program gave the car to Shannon Babb, a preschool teacher and single parent. She was asked to stop by the UFV Trades and Technology Centre by her boss and had no idea why. Accompanied by her toddler son, she stopped by after work, only to be told that she was being presented with the refurbished vehicle.

“It was a complete surprise… I had no idea what I was going in for.”

Jeff Fortin and Rick Opheim from Fortin’s and Jeff Boylan from Mertin’s were on hand for the presentation of the car to Babb. Mertin’s also provided a $1,500 cash donation to be presented to an automotive collision repair and refinishing student or students.