Donated car given to veteran in Belmont

A donated and fixed up car was given to a war veteran by the Belmont Rotary Club and repaired by Ralph Kirkberg.
April 11, 2014 6:22:39 PM PDT
In Belmont Friday afternoon, there was an event guaranteed to make anyone smile. As ABC7 News found out, it took a lot of work by many people to make a big difference in the life of a deserving wounded veteran.

There was a very loud and star spangled entrance for the veteran. The event was for a father with five children, and another on the way, who came to pick up their brand new, used, 2002 Nissan with 80,000 miles.

"It will be a nice commuter car for us," said Sgt. Oscar Liberato.

If you're wondering about the scars on Liberato's face, they're the tip of a painful iceberg. It is the lifelong reminder of an IED in Iraq in 2008 -- an attack that only he survived.

"I don't remember the explosion. All I remember is waking up after the fact and I was still trapped inside the vehicle and the vehicle was burning up. At that point everyone else was already gone," said Liberato.

"I'm sure there were moments when he wanted to give up and stop. The pain was horrible through the first two years of treatments, surgeries, and going in and out of hospitals," said Lisa Liberato, Oscar's wife.

Those facts are the backstory to this day's event. The Rotary Club of Belmont and car repair man Ralph Kirkberg have been working on this event since last year. They wanted to get this veteran a second car so that he can finish his degree in business administration, get a job, and take care of that large family.

"What do I get? A big happy smile," said Kirkberg.

This is not the first time the Rotary Club of Belmont has given a car to a wounded warrior. It's the third. The car was donated, as well as the parts and the labor to get the car ready.

"It feels good. It's great to do something for people that have given so much for this country," said Brian McNeal, a mechanic.

It's a not-so-small gesture after very nearly the ultimate sacrifice. It's a nice way to end a week, for everyone else and yet another beginning for Liberato, who says he would not have changed one single decision that led him to this moment.

"I love serving my country. I love my country," said Liberato.

He wears it.


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