Hammer Time: Good Works

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time good works

Most folks will tell you how great they are. It’s not an evil thing. Just a gut reaction to personal insecurities. The great men… let others do their talking. Evil souls will pay someone for the pontificating privileges (and turn on them after the fact). However the greatest of men… tells no one of their good deeds. You don’t need faith or even a financial perk to ‘pay it forward’ and help out folks in need. With that in mind let me tell you about one of the many great men you’ve never met.

His name is George. Not a famous George like a Steinbrenner or a Stephanopoulos. Not even a Bailey or a Jetson. George is an everyday guy. Like most of us here he is also a bit of a goofball. George spends his work days designing all sorts of logos and emblems for off-beat brands. If there is a cultural creative somewhere in his neck of the woods chances are they would benefit from his talents. Unfortunately one of his in-law’s died from lung cancer a few years back. It was a soul bending, brutal and sickening experience. So he has over the years donated two vehicles towards the American Lung Association. Both Toyotas. Both of which do very well in dealer auctions that focus on overseas markets. Here’s his story. Enjoy!

Note: The One Car – One Difference program coordinates the donation of vehicles for hundreds of charities across the country. You can visit their web site here, or contact them directly here. If you need to reach Steven Lang directly, you can always do so at steven.lang@alumni.duke.edu

All Conferencing Interview

Steven Lang, The Truth About Cars, George, One Car One Difference Vehicle Donor, and Susan Jablonski, One Car – One Difference Program

SL: George, before we delve into your reasons for donating your ride, just tell us a brief synopsis about yourself and what type of work that you do.

GA: I’m in package design. So brand identity and package design. So, I’ve been doing that pretty much since I graduated from school. And. It’s pretty fun. You know I get to work on projects that end up on shelves. So it’s a lot of fun to go shopping with my kids and show them the work that they see me sketching at the dinner table. It’s something real. I get to be a hero at teacher /parent day when you get to talk about what you do for a living. At this age it’s pretty exciting that their dad draws pictures for shampoo bottles and chocolate bars and things like that.

SL: So when Ronzoni has a Star Wars edition it’s going to be you all over it. Right?

GA: That’s Right! That’s Right!

SL: Well, I’ll tell you what. You went through an experience trying to donate your vehicle. Give me a little peak as to what was going on when you were looking at your old beater and trying to figure out what to do?

GA: Well, you know I correct you there. It wasn’t an old beater. It was in pretty good condition. My truck, a 2002 Toyota Highlander . And you know I had an opportunity to trade it in. I’m currently actually looking for a car. And they always ask me do you have a trade-in? And truthfully, there’s more value in it to me to do something good for society than trying to get some pennies off of the purchase of a new car.

So that’s why I donated it. To me, particularly the Lung Association is something and their educational programs are pretty close to my heart. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s something important to me to make sure that, you they’re a strong active voice in the community of anti-smoking and lung health.

SL: Do you have family members that smoke?

GA: You know what my father-in-law died young of lung cancer and complications of lung cancer. So that’s something that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Luckily I grew up in a household that never smoked. And we were quite aware of the dangers of smoking. I’ve been blessed with never having that terrible smell on your clothes.

SL: (laughs)

GA: But growing up I know the peer pressure…and this is really the primary reason why I donate to the American Lung Association. I have three young children. And I never want them to feel that smoking is cool, or that it’s un-cool to reject a cigarette.

I know that the ALA does a lotta work in helping educate the young people out there. I mean the adults that are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s they didn’t have the benefit of widespread educational programs. So their goose is kind of cooked. And the addiction to nicotine and cigarettes is so difficult to quit. And I saw it first hand with my father-in-law. That I would never wish that upon anyone and the illnesses that can come out of it is something terrible. So, thinking of my children I think you know if there is a way to stop someone from having their first puff and making them understand the dangers, but also that it’s pretty cool to have pink lungs not black ones inside. You know, so that’s really the driving force behind my donation.

“Steve Lang has left — has dropped off the call”

GA: Uh oh! I think we lost you.

OPERATOR: “Steven Lang joined”

SL: Well, leave it to a cell phone to drop off the face of the earth. It’s perfectly fine because I believe Susan is actually recording this for us, right?

SJ: Yes. This automatically records, so we’re all set.

GA: Oh, super.

SL: Wonderful, I don’t have to press the 4 key intravenously anymore. That will definitely work. So tell us about your actual vehicle. What type of vehicle was it?

GA: It was a Toyota Highlander. Which I loved. It was a great, great car, was a 2002 Toyota Highlander. So, not terribly old. And I loved it. I brought my kids home from the hospital in that car. Actually my oldest was quite attached to it and was sad when I told her that we’re going to be getting a new one. But it was a great car. I gotta say you know I haven’t driven the new Highlander. But, they built that right. I really enjoyed that car.

SL: When you got ready to sell was it an easy process for you, was it multi-step tell us a little about that?

GA: It was a breeze. Actually I went on-line. Because I didn’t know the number in my head. I googled the association and got the number off the internet. And dialed. Instead of doing it on line I wanted to talk to someone. And the young lady that was on the line was great. She emailed me the forms right after we got off the phone. This was the second time I’ve done it. It was really, really easy. I couldn’t even say how to make it easier. It was a breeze.

SL: Did you get any feedback afterwards about it going through the auction and the price it went for or anything of that nature?

GA: You know they did get back to me and they told me they were really happy with the price they got for it and they were thankful for my donation. And, you know I couldn’t feel better about it. I’m hoping that goes towards educating first smokers that they should be quitting but particularly closer to my heart is encouraging the younger kids to never to take their first puff.

SL: Well that definitely makes a substantial difference in this world. I think they had over 40,000 people dying from lung cancer for a very, very long time. I guess it wasn’t til 1990s that it tapered off a bit. And

GA: It’s a brutal disease.

SL: Exactly! I’m sure the ALA is especially focused on having an immediate impact on their research and teen education. So, first and foremost thank you for doing that.

GA: It’s for selfish reasons.

No, really it will make me feel that much better about the world that my kids are growing up in if I know the money is going towards defending them.

SL: Well right now, I believe the program they have for the One Car One Difference has 70 charities they’re supporting, is that correct Susan?

SJ: We have hundreds of charities actually that we support. We have 6 benefactor charities who came on board who help promote the program at a national level, some like The Humane Society of the United States, The National Kidney Foundation, The American Heart Association, those folks have taken it to a national level. We actually just had Mr. Wimmer at our charity vehicle summit held just a couple of months ago, who as you know heads the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, on our panel discussion … and we’ve been working with them for quite some time.

SL: Well I can tell you from personal experience there’s nothing tougher than standing on top of a podium in front of hundreds of people. Car dealers or remarketing professionals, it’s definitely a tall order. And George, I need to personally thank you. I had a cousin who I never met named, Teddy, who actually passed away from lung cancer, from cigarette smoking, actually about a year before I was born. So, you know, you make a very healthy difference in this world and it’s wonderful to have somebody who has led by example and can actually make that statement and that truth in the public forum. So thank you very much for everything.

GA: You’re welcome. I’m sorry that your family had to go through that tragedy. And that’s something I’m hoping my contribution and others like it may help alleviate other families from that similar fate.

SL: Well, we’ll definitely take note of that in the interview. Of course I have to send you a copy of everything when it’s all said and done. So feel free to provide that to Susan and Susan will be copied as well. This interview should be release some time mid-next week. And if you want to provide any other details between now and then feel free to call me directly or Susan a call and I’ll make sure it’s included in there.

GA: Okay, sounds good.

SL: You guys have a wonderful day. Thank you very much.

SJ: Have a wonderful weekend George. Have a wonderful weekend Steven. Bye. Bye.

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 1 comment
  • Chris P Bacon It would be really nice if car sites like TTAC helped people find way to avoid these prices. It seems like stories like these just say "suck it up and pay the markup". No. In many cases, you don't have to. I just ordered a Wrangler 4xe and got Chrysler Affiliates price. That 1% under invoice. I know this is the price I got because I sat at the computer in the dealer's showroom and build the Jeep. i got Chrysler Affiliate pricing through my employer. Your employer doesn't offer it? Join treadlightly.org. For $100 membership, guess what? You get Chrysler Affiliate pricing! Want a Ford, but think you can't get X-Plan? Think again! Join EAA.org. X-Plan is included with their membership. A dealer in my area is offering Costco members a $1500 incentive. I'm guessing that has something to do with Costco's car buying service, so there must be some value to be found in that program.Will all dealers honor these discount plans? No. Then that's not the dealer you want to work with anyway. Find another place to shop. It would be nice if TTAC (or any car site) did a little leg work to show readers how to actually save on a car purchase.
  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.