Sunday, November 23, 2014

With a little help from our friends.....

On October 6th this year I received a forwarded email from our friend, Fred Fann, which is the President of the Car Club Council of Central Virginia.  It was a message from Judy Popov, the Marketing Manager for Welburn Management, inquiring about a “car show” for a Grand Opening of a local McDonald’s in Spotsylvania, VA.  After a couple messages back and forth, our group, Cruisin For Heroes, agreed to assist Judy with her request.  We were to provide 12 vehicles to be displayed in the McDonald parking lot.  We were to share the lot with two Spotsylvania Sherriff vehicles that were to be used to “stuff a cruiser” with food for local needy families and a couple very large pieces of rescue equipment from the Chancellor Volunteer Fire & Rescue.  For providing these vehicles for a 5 hour display the Welburn Management Company would make a $500 donation to Fisher House Foundation.  

Since we only had 54 days to put the display together….we had to move quickly.  We had to ensure that our display grid would include only spectator friendly vehicles with friendly, outgoing owners.  The weather is always a consideration and since it would be in late November it could be cold and/or wet!  After considering our choices of vehicles/owners we decided to invite Ken & Carmen Billings with their 55 Chevy BelAir, Bill & Debbie Bell with their ’23 Model T Speedster, Rick & Kim Sinclair with their ’03 Chevy Silverado, Bill Errera & JoAnn Meneloas with their ’57 Chevy BelAir, Bill & Linda Barnes with their ’65 Plymouth Valiant, Denny & Betty Raymond and their ’34 Gatsby, Duane & Valerie Mitchell and their ’67 Mustang, Ron Lacasse & Donna Aker with their ’69 Camaro.  Then with Lou & Arlene and their ’53 Ford Sunliner, Dan & Ramona Crane with their ’55 Chevy, Fred & Debie Davis with their ’57 Dodge and the Princess & I with our ’49 Chevy truck, this would provide the rest of the 12 vehicles for the display.
After a hiccupping start in Stafford the group began to arrive at the site from all directions of the compass.  There were a couple abandoned vehicles in the parking lot that had to be removed but everyone finally got settled in for a cold day at McDonald’s.  The cloudless sky allowed the sun to shine brilliantly belying the fact that the air temp was about -258 degrees with a 40 kt wind making the chill factor about absolute zero!  We all took turns going inside the warm restaurant for coffee and burgers….then back outside to interact with the spectators that milled among the vehicles throughout the day.  The cold made it difficult to do my normal impersonation of a flightless bird….running around waving my arms and making noise.  I tried to keep my hands in my pockets if I could and keep the talking to a minimum so I wouldn’t frostbite my vocal cords….grin  Everyone persevered and I’m told that they all enjoyed the day out with their hot rod.  The fact that we earned $500 for Fisher House Foundation was not lost on anyone either, it was another good day for our Veterans and the other organizations the Welburn Group shared with!
Judy was managing the event like a Swiss watch with the official ribbon cutting ceremony beginning at 11AM that included the big check presentations.  Mr. & Mrs. Welburn and their family all participated in the Grand Opening ceremony….it was a family affair.  The Spotsylvania County Sherriff’s Office, Chancellor Fire & Rescue, Fisher House Foundation, Spotsylvania County Public Schools all received presentation checks.  The National Wildlife Federation presented Mrs. Welburn with the “Certified Wildlife Habitat” certificate & plaque and our group, Cruisin For Heroes, presented Judy with a plaque of appreciation for working with us to serve our Veterans through Fisher House Foundation.
Ronald McDonald was energetically cruising through the crowds stopping at the different activity stations, doing magic tricks and other feats of wonder to the amazement of all.  Sparky and SafteyPup, the Fire & Rescue mascots, also mingled inside and outside with the crowds while they posed for pictures.  They had a face painter working tirelessly with her magic paint while the DJ kept the mood very upbeat. 
It was a great day for McDonald’s AND the local community.  This restaurant was built to be a certified eco-friendly establishment and is managed by sensitive friendly people willing to give back to the community while they serve it too.  Stop by and check it out….I think you will be impressed.

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