The San Diego Business Development Group (BDG) made Christmas 2022 one to remember for Gabriel Yslas, a beloved member of the community. On December 18, Yslas, known more often as Mr. G., was presented with a refurbished 1998 Dodge Durango SUV during a presentation televised on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego. Cars for a Cause, made possible by the BDG’s NAPA AutoCare Centers, has been a tradition for more than a dozen years.
Between October 1 and November 30, 2022, more than 100 applications were submitted online and at the BDG’s 11 AutoCare Centers. Three different individuals, unaware of one another’s actions, all nominated Mr. G.
Vehicle Winner Gives Back to the Community
Beverly Bravo was one of the individuals who nominated Mr. G. and attended the presentation. She said Mr. G. works with crime survivors and victims. He often dresses as a clown and is known for putting smiles on the faces of children from low income households, many of whom have been impacted by trauma during their young lives.
Mr. G. is a welcome guest at a variety of events and church functions throughout the community. Each year, he organizes a holiday toy drive, seeking donations and then picking up and delivering toys and joy to local children and their families. Mr. G. does all this as he cares for his wife who is battling cancer. She has regular medical appointments and is often in and out of the hospital.
Mr. G’s previous vehicle suffered a cracked engine block and was no longer drivable. Because he had no transportation, Bravo thought the annual toy drive might not happen this year. In her nominating letter she wrote, “He has no way of asking for donations, picking up toys, or taking his wife to medical appointments. Mr. G. never asks for anything for himself. It’s always for others.”
Another person who nominated Mr. G. noted, “His impact on the community is a beautiful thing and I would love to see him continue to bless the children and their families.”
All the nominations are read and reviewed by BDG members. Once a recipient is selected, NAPA Wholesale Manager John Hartman, who heads the San Diego BDG, speaks to the individuals who nominated the chosen recipient before contacting that individual.
“This year, I found out Mr. G. would be attending a planning event at a local church so I also attended and told him our BDG had chosen him as the recipient of the Durango,” explained Hartman. “He was humbled and very thankful. We presented him with the keys during the Good Morning San Diego broadcast along with cash to spend on his own family Christmas.”
Cars for a Cause Made Possible by Generosity of BDG Members
The annual Car for a Cause vehicle giveaway program is made possible by the generosity of the BDG members. Typically, one of the member shops has a vehicle and the group allocates money for vehicle repairs. The AutoCare Center that provides the repairs rotates from year to year.
This year, Hartman said new shocks, struts, and brakes were among the required repairs as well as a new engine. There was even a dent on the rear hatch the group took care of. Thanks to the work of FTS Automotive Service, it’s now a sound running Durango that will provide reliable and safe transportation.
The San Diego BDG includes 11 AutoCare Centers and their owners: Aero Auto Repair, Tony Kaju; Bonita Point Auto Care, Lori Hupp; Bonita Valley Auto Care, Bill Ballard; Boulevard Automotive, Atta Erikat & Ed Abrahim; Convoy Auto Repair, David Ely; Dragonfly Automotive, Blanca Yebra & Julio Campos; FTS Automotive Service, Joe Dimaio; John’s Automotive Care, John Eppstein; Pacific Auto Service, Olivier Lesecq & Will Ortega; 1-Way Auto Clinic, Chris Jackson; West Kearney Mesa Automotive & Transmission, Brian Bowersock.