Crafting Kindness

Collision Craft continues car giveaway program, adds new army of volunteers seeking a worthy project

By Molly Priddy
Gene Dziza, owner of Collision Craft, pictured on Dec. 13, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

When Gene Dziza, the owner of Collision Craft in Kalispell, heard from his coworker that a client’s child just had a brain aneurysm and the client couldn’t afford the flight and hotel room costs, he knew two things.

First of all, he knew he would try to help — the client’s $500 deductible was waived on their freshly fixed car, and Collision Craft donated another $500 to an online fundraiser.

Secondly, Dziza knew his vision for the culture of his business was coming to fruition.

“We want to be a giving organization,” Dziza said last week, taking a break from a packed schedule. “When that stuff happens — when my coworker comes to me with this idea — you know you’re getting there.”

Collision Craft is busier than ever these days, he said, but that won’t stop the staff there from being a force of good in the community. Dziza’s goal is to not only make meaningful connections with the people who become or already are their clients, but also to bond his staff more closely together.

For example, every year, Collision Craft employees donate their time and talent to fix up a car they will eventually give away. Once the business lets people know the car is available, interested parties share stories about their need for the car.

Then, the Collision Craft employees all meet for a big dinner. After they’re full, Dziza asks them who they think should get the car. Employees often pick different candidates, he said, and they make arguments for their choices. Then they all vote.

The result is a table of people all trying to make the strongest pitch for the person who needs it the most, Dziza said.

“It’s so cool to see people, like a 21-year-old man, advocate for his candidate,” he said. “Our challenge is that we have a hard time finding time to fix the cars anymore. But it’s amazing what it does for us. Sometimes they think they’re just fixing cars. When they get to see something like this — the single mom in desperate need of a car — I think it really drives it home.”

Lately, the giving project at Collision Craft is A.R.K., which stands for Acts of Random Kindness. Those are the actions that change the world, Dziza believes. A.R.K. has a giving foundation, which recently gifted the animal shelter with a month’s worth of adoption fees, as well as what Dziza terms the A.R.K. Army.

“An army of angels just looking for a war,” he said with a laugh.

Eighteen employees are ready and willing to volunteer four hours of their time for a project. Dziza said his talented team is looking for the right idea, and would like suggestions from the community.

This came about because the employees were hanging out outside of work and thought it would be fun to just volunteer for a day, all together. One project with promise would be helping Sparrow’s Nest, an organization providing shelter for homeless high school students, move into their new home.

The project will be selected through a vote, just like the car giveaway. It will benefit members of the community, he said, and it will bring his team closer together.

“We want to do it together, all of us,” Dziza said.

For more information on Collision Craft, visit www.collisioncraftkalispell.com or call (406) 752-4885.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.