St. Cloud auto body students rebuild soldier's car

11:04 PM, Feb 16, 2012   |    comments
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. - It's a labor of love on four wheels.

"Thank you doesn't even come close to how I feel right now," said Specialist Jake Benson with the Minnesota National Guard.

If anyone deserves a gift like this, it might be Benson. In 2009, his unit was attacked in Iraq, three fellow soldiers lost their lives, and Benson received shrapnel injuries. Then, last summer, his SUV was totaled in a multi-car crash which left him no way to get to work.

"I wasn't sure what we were going to do," he said. "I felt like I had let my family down."

But fellow soldier Nick Buskey had an idea. He's studying to become an auto body technician at St. Cloud Technical and Community College and decided to take up a different kind of mission: give Jake's car a total makeover.

"I pitched it as a community service projects," says Sgt. Buskey. "The school approved it and people got on board."

Buskey and his classmates put in 200 hours of labor and local companies donated over $4,000 in supplies and parts.

"When a friend or brother is in need you lend a hand," says Buskey. "Now, Jake and his family have a car again that he doesn't have to pay for."

Buskey says the repair job was a learning experience, but it's not the education that will the team will remember.

"This is about brotherhood," he said.  "This was a way to serve someone who has given so much."

For Benson, who still lives with shrapnel in his back and legs says he's beyond thankful.

"It's amazing what they did," says Benson.  "It gives me hope for the future and my family."

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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