Air Force veteran gets new car through 'Cars 4 Heroes'
COLUMBIA – Air Force veteran Martin Alderman received a new car on Saturday, thanks to Army veteran Robert Scott Gardner and the organization 'Cars 4 Heroes.' Alderman's old car broke down and he did not have the money to repair it.
"Thank you, thank you so much, I appreciate it. I'm not worthy, I'm just a guy," Alderman said.
He joined the Air Force when he was 17 years-old and went to security forces school to become an "air policeman.” He ended up working in the missile fields, some here in Missouri back when they were here. Alderman said he also went all over the world with the Air Force.
"I wanted to serve and I did a job," he said. "I just enjoy serving, you know, I always have. It's important, I hope more people would serve."
Alderman was 38 and still in service when he suffered a massive heart attack. When he was on his tenth week of recovery, getting ready to go back to work, he had a stroke from a blood caused by the medical procedures he underwent. The stroke affected the mobility of the left side of his body, leaving him in a wheelchair for 11 years. He was discharged from the USAF in 2003.
However, he said he is active with the Air Patrol, as much as his health allows him to.
"We take cadets, all the way up to 21 and we teach them not only military topics but we also deal with air space education, we're heavy into the STEM programs now, we do emergency services and disaster relief," Alderman said.
After receiving a new car himself on Monday, Gardner donated his old car to Cars4Heroes. With the support of different donors, the organization repaired it and gave it to Alderman, who said he would not have been able to get a new car otherwise.
"With my medical issues and everything, my credit is just basically shot “ he said. "It seems like anything that I have done with me is not cheap and, of course, insurance only covers so much. And now my credit is way out. When you are living on a fixed income you require a little bit of assistance."
Alderman said his new car will help him take care of his own well-being.
"I'm going to be able to get to my doctor's appointments and stuff associated with all my health issues," he said. "It's gonna also allow me to continue serving the country with civil air patrol. Our youth today is just outstanding and trying to give them direction and helping them along the way, pass some knowledge forward."
Alderman said his family will also see a benefit.
"My step dad and my mother are both into their eighties now. My mother has epilepsy and, of course, dad's got his heart problems," he said. "Trying to keep them going and be able to get them because, you know, with my mother I generally have to take her to her appointments also."
Gardner said he knew his car would be given away to another veteran but he was surprise of how fast that happened.
"To see what the two people, him and his wife, have experienced today it's been maybe even better than what I felt Monday night, really nice," he said.
Gardner said, in Columbia, the community is willing to support those who have served the country.
"The people I've met would give you the shirt off their back if you need it and if you deserve it, or if they think you even deserve it, if you're trying," he said. "That's what I have experience my way, and I just want to do the same thing going out. It's been a real joy.”
Alderman said he has completed all the required courses to become a house/property inspector. He said his new car will allow him to become independent.