GEICO donated damaged car and Caliber Collision employees repaired it

Stephen Romero, age 6, was killed during the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting Sunday July 28.

By Staff Reports

During the holiday season, it’s important to remember that despite the tragedies South Valley has suffered in the past year, there are still good people in the world who do kindness for strangers.

Technicians at Caliber Collision in Morgan Hill gave 135 hours of their off-work time to repair a 2015 Hyundai Elantra and donate the car to 69-year-old Barbara Aquirre, the grandmother of Stephen Romero, the six-year-old boy shot and killed July 28 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Aquirre was at the festival and was wounded by bullets, forcing her to now walk with a crutch.

Insurance company GEICO donated the damaged car. The Gilroy Foundation selected Aguirre to be the recipient of the vehicle because of her need. She felt overcome with emotion when she was handed the keys to the newly refurbished car, according to a Dec. 3 report in the Bay Area NBC News. (To view the video, go to www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Gilroy-Community-Rallies-Around-Garlic-Festival-Shooting-Victim-565762022.html.)

The employees at Caliber Collision gave up nights and weekends to fix the vehicle for the family dealing with the pain of losing a beloved child.

Aguirre’s daughter, Berta Aquirre, who was also shot at the festival, told NBC News, “Gilroy isn’t a bad place. Yes, there was a tragedy, but people in the community showed something different.”

“A lot of the donated time was after their normal eight-hour shift and on Saturdays and Sundays,” Ruben Higareda, general manager of Caliber Collision, told NBC News.

Aguirre often drives her eight grandchildren to school and events, and the car she was using was unreliable and had no air conditioning. Receiving the refurbished Elantra enables her to continue to help her family as they try to cope with loss during the holidays.

“We’re getting through it and keep moving forward,” Berta Aguirre told NBC News.

Nearly $2 million has been raised so far for the victims.

People interested in helping the victims of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting can make an online donation by going to www.gilroyfoundation.org/ or sending a check to the foundation at P.O. Box 774 Gilroy, CA 95021.