Niles auto students fix car for man needing kidney transplant

Submitted photo The Niles High School automotive program recently provided major and minor repairs on a car for a Niles man battling chronic kidney disease. Pictured, from left to right, are: Alex Rutkowske, Peter Darnell, Alan Weise, Gary Kind, Ben McKenzie and Ashley Garritano. Savahana Milner, who also helped, was not present for the picture.

Submitted photo — The Niles High School automotive program recently provided major and minor repairs on a car for a Niles man battling chronic kidney disease. Pictured, from left to right, are: Alex Rutkowske, Peter Darnell, Alan Weise, Gary Kind, Ben McKenzie and Ashley Garritano. Savahana Milner, who also helped, was not present for the picture.

Niles High School automotive instructor Gary Kind is always looking for ways to teach his students about the importance of giving back to their community.

So when Niles graduate Amanda Moody and her brother, David Monroe, asked the school’s auto shop to help fix a car for their ailing father, Ed Robinson, the students jumped at the chance.

“They aren’t just learning a trade of auto mechanics, they are also learning about how to prioritize someone over themselves,” Kind said.

Ed Robinson

Ed Robinson

Robinson, 55, of Niles, has been battling chronic kidney disease for several years. Doctors told him he would eventually need a transplant.

Moody, 27, was ready to donate a kidney to her father, but learned Monday that she could not because stones were found in her kidney during a recent test.

“I was absolutely devastated because this whole time everything had been perfect and fine,” she said, adding that her father would be placed back on a list of people needing transplants. “He [my dad] is staying positive. There has to be a reason why this is happening.”

Kind said he and his auto shop students were happy to help in any way they could.

“I think it was a great opportunity for the kids to do something good for the community,” Kind said. “I hope he finds a different kidney, that’s for sure.”

Using all volunteer labor, six students made simple and complex repairs to Robinson’s vehicle, which had been sitting in a garage in a state of disrepair for almost a year.

Students fixed the car’s damaged engine by installing a new set of rod bearings, replaced all four tires and refurbished the brakes. They put in a new battery, serviced or changed all fluids, replaced a door handle and detailed the vehicle inside and out.

Moody said she and her father are thankful for all the support they have received, including from the auto program.

Kind said through the school’s auto program, students regularly provide auto repairs to needy people in the community. Labor is provided free of charge and in some cases, like with Robinson, everything is provided at no cost.

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