Benner’s Delivers New Year’s Cheer; Donates SUV to Local Veteran’s Son

Benner’s Auto Body is a proud supporter the nonprofit NJ Veterans Network and the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program. We aid these philanthropies by raising money for vets and donating cars to ones in need. But this year, we decided to take it a step further. This year, we donated a SUV to a New Jersey vet’s son.

Over the winter we donated a 2005 Chevy Suburban 1500 to 18-year-old Anthony Meeker. We first met Anthony when we donated a 2016 Honda CRV to his father and local vet Mike Perise. Anthony lives in Highland Lakes, NJ with his dad and three sisters.

“I’m ecstatic,” Mike Perise said. “Honestly, where we live—unless my son had a car already—he wouldn’t be able to have a job.”

benners with donated car

Anthony Meeker was the first of his siblings to turn 18 and get a license. But, with limited resources, it was unlikely that his father could help him purchase a vehicle. So, we took the driver’s seat and helped one way we knew we could: cars.

We wanted to get him something that could handle Northern New Jersey weather—a reliable starter vehicle for a teen to get to and from school and work safely and on time. So we bought him the Chevy from John Johnson Dodge in Hackettstown, NJ, which was in great condition.

“I don’t even have words for Joe (O’Neill, owner of Benner’s), he is a phenomenal human being,” Mike Perise said. To help a family out once is one thing, but to help them out a second time is another.”
Mike Perise shared that this gesture shows how invested Joe O’Neill Jr. is in his family and how he genuinely cares about helping others.

Anthony Meeker is a senior at Vernon Township High School. He has secured a job working at a landscaping company. Upon graduation, Anthony Meeker plans on attending a trade school and enter a union to become an electrician or welder.

In his spare time, the Vernon teen likes to fish and—now with his new car—drive and visit his childhood friends down in Middlesex and Union counties.