Local Gulf War veteran receives a free car

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Karen Jones enjoying her new car gifted to her by Long Island’s Leader in Cars Auto Group.

A local veteran in need was given the crucial gift of transportation so she can take her son to needed cancer treatments, thanks to Long Island’s Leaders in Cars Auto Group, which donated a Hyundai Elantra.

Through local nonprofit, Making All Veterans Smile Inc., Garden City Mazda owner and Leaders in Cars Auto Group president, Jordan Daiagi Harary, learned that Karen Jones, of Hempstead, a Navy veteran and single mother of four, could no longer drive her son Karon to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Health in Manhattan for brain cancer treatments due to a car accident that destroyed her previous vehicle.

Karon, 18, was first diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 10; he went into remission, but the cancer recently returned, necessitating aggressive treatments. The family had fallen on hard times and experienced homelessness for a time before Jones’ car was totaled, leaving her without a reliable way to get her son to treatment.

A retired Petty Officer 3rd Class in the Navy, Jones served nine years, including overseas during the 1991 Gulf War. Karon was accepted at SUNY Buffalo but was unable to matriculate in the fall due to the return of his cancer.

“Without this car, it would have been so difficult to get my son to his appointments to receive the vital cancer treatments he needs,” said Jones. “I am so grateful to Jordan, and to Making All Veterans Smile for their incredibly generous outpouring of support.”

“When I heard Karen’s heart wrenching story, I knew donating a car was the least I could do,” said Mrs. Daiagi Harary, who also serves on the board of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. “Our servicemembers sacrifice for our country and it was my privilege to give a helping hand to a veteran in need. Franchise car dealers are often right in the heart of their communities, leading the way in charitable giving, and I’m pleased to be able to do our part.”

“This is an outstanding example of the kind of generosity and lasting charitable impact that franchise car dealers have in communities throughout the region,” said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. “I want to commend Jordan for her compassion in recognizing how she could help a member of our community in need and rising to the challenge of providing critical, practical assistance. I extend my most sincere wishes to the Jones family as they confront these challenges.”

“Karen Jones is a veteran in need that we, at Making all Veterans Smile, wanted to help,” said Making All Veterans Smile co-founder, Anthony Andreano. “We were organizing a gala to raise money to help Karen and other veterans in financial distress. Karen mentioned to me that she had gotten into a car accident and totaled her car. When I heard this, I knew I needed to help her find another vehicle to be able to transport her children between hospital visits into the city for her son and school functions for her daughters. I reached out to my friend Connie, who is the office manager at Garden City Mazda, and she connected me with Jordan, who had an earnest desire to help Karen. Before you know it, I get a call from Jordan, telling me that she had found a car that she thinks would fit Karen’s needs perfectly. Jordan’s heart and desire to help was moving. I told Jordan, just as I told Karen, she’s part of the MAVS family now.”

After Jones’ car accident, her insurance coverage did not provide enough money to purchase a car. She has found a home for herself, her 16-year-old twin daughters and Karon, but their finances are tight. She also has a 21-year-old son in college.

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