THANK THE BRAVE: The former airman donates the final leg of the journeys that bring our military home.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — When members of our nation’s Armed Forces step off their commercial flights in Phoenix, they can count on Gary Tennant, owner of Phoenix-based PRIVATE COACH LIMOS, to be there to bring them all the way home.
Tennant, who served in the U.S. Air Force in the 1970s, provides the complimentary rides in a Lincoln Town Car for all Phoenix-area servicemen and women returning home from their posts, stations, and calls to war duty.
Tennant’s income is derived from his normal chauffeured transportation services, such as airport transfers and some retail work, and he admits that he really can’t afford to give out these free rides in this economic climate. But he does it anyway because he believes the troops deserve much more than they get.
“I’ve had to cut my rates down to near cab prices. But I’m not doing this for me; I’m doing it for these boys and girls giving their lives over there. They don’t make enough money and the government has cut back on a lot of things that help take care of older veterans in the hospitals and stuff. They risk their lives out there, day-in and day-out, so deserve to at least get a nice, comfortable ride home instead of sitting in a hot, stuffy, stinking cab,” he says.
The idea came to Tennant when he was at the airport waiting for a client who never showed up. He was approached by a man in uniform who asked him where could find a cab for a ride home, and after learning that he and the airman were both headed in the same direction, offered to give him a ride. “I saw that he was Air Force, and I told him that I was also Air Force and that I’d give him a ride. When we got to his destination, he wanted to pay me but I wouldn’t accept it. I’ve been where he was, and I know these guys don’t make enough money to start with.”
After speaking to his pastor and spending a lot of time praying about it, Tennant said he decided that he would continue to provide this service to members of our military at no cost. He will never accept money from a service member, but does accept donations from his other clients on behalf of the military to help offset the cost of fuel for the pro bono trips.
Tennant spreads the word through Facebook and contacts different groups in the Armed Forces community, which generates word-of-mouth referrals across different squads and companies.
For more information, contact Gary Tennant at email@example.com.
— Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor