Say you need your car to pick up groceries, but you also need an oil change and don’t want to sit at the shop for half an hour and risk exposure to the virus. For residents of San Antonio, Red McCombs Automotive is offering another option: It will pick up your car, provide an oil change or whatever repair work is needed, and drop it back off, wiped down and ready for use.
To accomplish this service, Red McCombs Automotive partnered with AutoThink, a concierge service whose mission is to hire veterans and their families.
“What they do is provide the software and logistics for managing a fleet of drivers to go to customers’ homes, pick up the vehicle, and bring it back to the customer,” explains Joe Shields, director of business development at McCombs Enterprises. AutoThink employees, the majority of whom are veterans or related to veterans, also drive the cars back and forth, while customers can watch their location through “an Uber-like interface,” Shields says.
That’s not the only way the automotive company is serving its community during this time. Through the McCombs Foundation, it is donating $250,000 for one short-term and one long-term goal: First, to help service workers who’ve lost their jobs because of the virus. Second, to develop a vaccine.
Funds given to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute will help with testing as it works to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. The rest of the funds will go to local charities helping service workers in San Antonio who’ve lost their jobs, as restaurants have temporarily closed or moved to carry-out only services.
“San Antonio is a city of service, and service workers are the backbone of the city,” Shields says, adding that this is reflected in the tagline of the automotive company: “Driven to serve.”
Established by Shields’ grandfather, Red McCombs, the McCombs Foundation has given away more than $118 million since 1998. The family has donated to a plethora of initiatives in health and education, including $30 million to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2005 and $50 million to the University of Texas, Austin, after which the McCombs School of Business was established. Red McCombs also wrote the first check to IDEA Carver Academy, a public charter school in San Antonio and the handiwork of former San Antonio Spur David Robinson.
The McCombs Foundation’s current efforts in coronavirus relief and prevention are only a start. Shields explains, “This is just the next step of trying to find ways to help out our community that we love.”