TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — One local vet spent nearly 20 years helping soldiers recover their vehicles from hazardous situations, and now he's on the receiving end of similar help.
When a fire caused by a drunken neighbor threatened sixteen lives at the Veteran's Village apartment complex, Clyde Thompson sprang into action.
Thompson is no stranger to near-death situations after 19 years of service in the U.S. Army's 23rd Quartermaster Brigade.
"I was a construction engineer when I was in the military," said Thompson. "I was actually teaching soldiers how to refuel fighter jets and attack helicopters and things of that nature."
After suffering from disability caused during his service, he fell on hard times, losing his home, and surviving his first car wreck in October of 2018.
"I was hit from the back," Thompson said. "I was rear-ended by a truck. Totaled my car."
Thompson was in a second wreck with a friend just last week.
As a way to thank him for his heroism and help get him back on his feet, Veteran's Village nominated Thompson for Universal Collision's Recycled Ride program.
This is Universal's second year partnering with Volunteers Of America Florida, Inc. and Tallahassee Veterans to reward a vet in need.
"Well, it will definitely help this gentleman out," said Emory Davis, the shop manager at Universal Collision. "He's not going to have to use public transportation now. He'll be able to have his own life back because he kind of lost his transportation due to an accident that wasn't his fault as I understand, and just give him freedom."
Thompson says having his own set of wheels will be especially helpful as he works to re-establish himself and get a job during a pandemic.
"For one, it's a true blessing," Thompson said. "And two, it gives me the ability to do all the things that I really need to do in terms of following my dreams at this point, because I have aspirations to go to work for the post office. No matter what job I get, I still need transportation, and with this transportation, I can improve my life."
Davis says volunteers put about $5,000 worth of work in restoring Thompson's 2009 Toyota Yaris, roughy doubling its total appraisal and giving a ride that will be invaluable to a veteran who put his life on the line to save others both abroad and right here in our community.
Thompson says he enjoyed the time he spent serving our country and hopes to serve another five years.