Melendez said the car needed a lot of work, but he didn’t mind doing it.
“The front end was wrecked and needed a new fender, needed a new bumper, so we went ahead and took care of that,” Melendez said.
He also installed new tires, wheel bearings and new trim. JDM Collision fixed the air conditioning and handled some other work.
Melendez said it doesn’t take much to help service members and veterans, and he hopes more people become involved to assist them.
“To do something like this, this is nothing, I could not go through what he went through,” Melendez said. “With that, that’s just my way of saying that I will not take advantage of him putting his life on the line for all of us.”
Although Walczak and Melendez hadn’t met until Thursday, they have a mutual friend who helped coordinate the vehicle repairs.
That friend, Marc Staples, is neighbors with Walczak’s grandmother, Carole Walczak.
While her grandson was overseas, she was taking care of some of her grandson’s responsibilities, and she told Staples about the car in need of repair.
Staples approached Melendez about the situation, and Melendez quickly told him, “Get me the car.”
Carole Walczak said she cried when she heard Melendez was repairing the vehicle at no cost.