US Army and Coast Guard veteran gifted a car from VFW, area auto shops


Elite Collision Center in Battle Ground hosted giveaway event Friday

Driving from Battle Ground in a 2015 Ford Taurus given to him by multiple organizations, US Army and Coast Guard veteran Scott Bingham already had a destination in mind.

Scott Bingham stands by a 2015 Ford Taurus given to him at Elite Collision Center in Battle Ground Friday. This car was donated to Elite free of charge from the National Auto Body Congress Recycled Rides program and the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. Photo by Dan Trujillo
Scott Bingham stands by a 2015 Ford Taurus given to him at Elite Collision Center in Battle Ground Friday. This car was donated to Elite free of charge from the National Auto Body Congress Recycled Rides program and the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. Photo by Dan Trujillo

“He’s stopping at a restaurant to have dinner with a friend he hasn’t been able to see in a long time,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) state commander Traci Williams. “He’s going to take the scenic route home north of Snohomish and take advantage of having freedom.”

Bingham is a man of few words, but those who attended the giveaway event at Elite Collision Center Friday could see how much having this car means to him. The 6-foot-8, 60-year-old had a hard time squeezing into the front seat but said he would get used to it.

“It’s going to give him a reliable vehicle to get from point A to point B, which he didn’t have. I can’t imagine not being able to go anywhere in such a movement world right now,” said Elite Collision Center co-owner Kevin Morse.

Kevin and Deana Morse belong to the National Auto Body Congress, which has a Recycled Rides program that works with the VFW to find used cars for veterans in need. After Bingham was selected by a committee of VFW officers, the Ford Taurus was donated to Elite Collision Center free of charge. Elite and Art Morse Auto Body worked on the car and made sure the parts and accessories were up to their standards of safety. Wash Me Detailing gave the car a fresh touch of paint.

“I’m a little emotional, to be honest. This car sat in a corner for at least a year building dust before these partnerships brought it back to life,” Kevin Morse said.

The car sat in the parking lot at Elite Collision Center Friday looking good as new. And the weather was perfect for Bringham to drive it home.

“We get to give the keys away and watch the fruits of our labor drive off,” Kevin Morse said. “It’s always nice to see the recipient and put a smile on his face. It makes it all worthwhile.”

Scott Bingham was born in Seattle in September 1960. His father was a prison security officer and his mother was a homemaker and educator. 

Bingham grew up in the Seattle area and attended Canyon Villi Bible Christian Academy. He joined the US Army in 1980, served in Egypt and other countries, and earned an honorable discharge. He also sailed on the Polar Star vessel to Alaska as a member of the US Coast Guard until 1985.

After travelling around the US, Bingham returned to Washington state to study horticulture and carpentry at South Puget Sound Community College. He worked as a full time landscaper until he got injured on the job.

Having a reliable vehicle should help Bingham get to his Post 921 meetings in Snohomish, find work and activities, and visit friends and family members.

“This car is going to allow him to be more mobile,” Williams said. “Mental health is something that is very important to us, as well as physical health. Not everybody sees the mental health aspect of being able to go to a post meeting and interact with other post members that have been to war like he has. He’s going to be able to attend those meetings. He’s going to be able to go out and visit his friends.”

Bingham and Williams thanked the staff members at Art Morse Auto Body and Elite Collision Center for handling the car with care and making sure it is safe for the road. Pacific Perks provided refreshments during Friday’s event.

“It takes a community to help one veteran,” Williams said. “It didn’t matter that it took us a few hours through traffic to drive down here. We could have just told Elite to meet us halfway. No. These organizations need to be thanked and recognized for everything they have done. They coordinated all of this, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

For more information about the Elite Collision Center, visit https://www.loc8nearme.com/washington/battle-ground/elite-collision-center/4525682/.

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