From the day Mike Rose graduated from Clayton Valley High School in 1972 he has been on a mission to make the world a better place. His first entrepreneurial effort began modestly with five employees in a 3,000-square-foot facility. Today it has grown to become a corporation with 13 locations in the Bay Area.
While this level of success would be enough to satisfy almost anyone, the Rose family and their employees have created an institution out of their generosity. Mike’s Auto Body’s Benevolence Program has become an event that generates so much good will many recipients have a hard time believing their luck. The program gives away vehicles refurbished to pristine condition to folks who could use a leg up. What started as a philanthropic way of doing business has morphed over 14 years into a community event that changes people’s lives.
Mike’s Marketing Manager, Sal Contreras, whittles down the hundreds of applications the program receives, looking to find people who “are out there really trying to make a difference.” Once the applications are down to a manageable number, Contreras turns the process over to the technicians and staff to make the final decision. Once a recipient is chosen, every person who worked on each vehicle is gathered together to make the award call on speakerphone.
In 2014, Mike’s partnered with the Vintage Valley Blue Star Moms to give away an additional car to a U.S. veteran on Nov. 11. Staff Sgt. Kyle Pearson of Travis Air Force Base will use the Hyundai Sonata he received to take his son to Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto. Incredibly, three of this year’s six vehicles went to families who commute to Packard Children’s Hospital, including Clayton’s Groebner family.
The Groebners relocated from Minnesota so that their now 12-year-old daughter could receive treatment for Pulmonary Hypertension. Katie Grace underwent a heart-lung transplant in June, 2014, making her one of only 94 children in the country to have undergone the rare procedure.
Kathy Groebner had never heard of the auto program. She says she was “floored when they called. People had written in on our behalf and I couldn’t believe it. I started to cry.”
The 2010 Toyota Rav 4 adds beauty to her life and lets her children know there’s good in the world. And that’s what Mike’s Auto Body wants; to make every community just a little better.