OCALA, Fla. - A group dedicated to suicide prevention in Marion County is trying to make a difference in the lives of some local veterans.
Each year, they accept nominations for veterans who would be good candidates, and give out free vehicles to the winners. This year, the organizers have two motorcycles that will belong to veterans by mid-November.
Parish Tanner, who owns Ocala Car Audio, started the giveaway.
"It was just our way of being able to maybe help one or two vets," Tanner said. "We wanted to give you something because you matter to us."
He’s partnering up with American Hometown Veteran Assist for the giveaway.
Tanner is a Navy vet and has lost loved ones to suicide.
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"Our hope is to be able to not make people feel like that, to give them the sense that there are people that do care about them," he said.
Tanner’s done these giveaways in the past, with both motorcycles and cars. "A lot of times it just brings tears to their eyes," Tanner recalled.
This year, the bikes available for donation are a 2007 Honda Chateau and a 2007 Yamaha.
Typically, the way it has worked is that Ocala Car Audio will buy the vehicles, or someone will donate them. Tanner works to refurbish them, making sure they’re safe to drive.
Then, he starts asking people to nominate veterans for the giveaway.
"We want to see that you pay it forward. We don't want you to just take it and disappear. Once you've got it, we hope it'll help heal you and do what you do. But then you need to get out there and you help somebody else. And that's kind of what our hope is," Tanner said.
If you want to nominate a veteran, or apply yourself, you’ll need to provide a copy of the veteran’s driver’s license and military discharge documents, and a nomination letter.
Applications are due by this Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.
The giveaway will be held on Nov. 18.
To submit a candidate, email Veteran@ocalacaraudio.com.