|Car show for a cause: Children's Miracle Network fundraiser|
|The Press - Features|
|Written by Kelley Lannigan|
|Wednesday, 03 August 2011 10:50|
Maxville resident Chris Burnham is the coordinator of the local Children’s Miracle Network Car and Truck show.
For him, the gathering of vehicles isn’t simply a car show, it’s a very personal statement about what he does to honor the memory of his brother Randell Swindell, who lost his battle with leukemia in 1992.
July 30 marked the car show’s fifth year. Held in the Food Lion parking lot and with 64 vehicle entries, 275 people attending and $1,500 raised, it is the most successful event to date, according to Mr. Burnham, who spoke about the show last Monday.“The amount of entries has doubled since the first show and this year we had entries from all over, from Live Oak, Middleburg, Jacksonville, the Beaches, etc.,” he said.
Proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network of Jacksonville, which works with hospitals in northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia to purchase medical equipment and sponsor child life activities and educational resources for the pediatric programs of Shands Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The organization can also grant a wish for a child, such as a trip to Disney World.
Five years ago, Mr. Burnham, a committed car enthusiast and new employee at Advance Auto Parts in Macclenny, became aware that car shows were just one of the many fund-raising events CMN utilizes in conjunction with other organizations to raise funds for their activities.
“I loved cars and it seemed like the perfect thing for me to get involved in,” said Mr. Burnham. “I’d be honoring Randell’s memory and helping other children with cancer at the same time.”Before he teamed up with CMN, he simply felt motivated to hold a car show and give the money to Shands.
“I used to go down to Shands a lot to visit Randell,” he said. “I remembered kids would have to share VCRs and games, sometimes with a limit of 30 minutes. I called them up and asked what they needed and it was more of the same.”
With Food Lion as a sponsor, he held his first car show in 2007. Two years later he teamed up with Children’s Miracle Network.
The car show has steadily increased each year in the number of entrants, people attending and money raised.
“My ultimate goal is to have 100 entries, raise $5,000 and get the Make A Wish Foundation involved,” he said.
The scope of the show has changed and grown each year, beginning with just cars, then including trucks and finally even golf carts.
Prizes are awarded for the Best of Class in a variety of categories, including best decorated golf cart.
Best of Class winners at this year’s show were Mike Plump, Chevy; Jimmy Davis, Ford; David Brookshire, Mopar, Johnny Tyson, race car and Debbie McDaniel, golf cart.
“Sometimes people ask me what my favorite thing in the show is and it’s almost impossible to say because I think they are all great,” he said. “For instance, you should have seen Ms. McDaniels’ golf cart. It had huge tires and a custom paint job with blue and white flames!”
Entertainment was provided by 13-year-old Macey McDuffie, who serenaded the crowd with country music songs by Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.
Mr. Burnham is especially grateful for the participation and support of all the local automotive shops around Macclenny that donated funds for trophies and door prizes and especially to his employer, Advance Auto Parts, for their continued support.
When asked why the event is so important, his answer isn’t just about his brother. It goes deeper.
“I can honor Randell’s memory, which is important, but the show is also something I can do for my community. There isn’t that much out here in the way of recreation so it’s something fun for people, especially those who are car hobbyists. I think it helps out local vendors and businesses as well,” he said.
|Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 08:03|