Story and photos by KRISTI McCANN
A terminally ill child is something no parent or family member should have to worry about, and the Central Missouri Mustang and Ford Club supports this worthwhile cause.
Members of the club contribute to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri through car shows and other events. On Sunday, June 27, the organization’s largest fundraiser took place for the 28th consecutive year at the Parkade Center.
A portion of all proceeds the club raises throughout the year is donated to the Ronald McDonald House. Each year, the club donates between $1,500 and $2,000 to the charity, said Dennis Booth, vice president of the club.
“We basically live off membership fees for advertisements, supplies for meetings, shirts and other things,” he said. “The rest of the money is all donated.”
The club chose to benefit this charity specifically because several of the members have friends who made use of the house, according to Jim Reese, president of the club.
Members of the Ford Club try to actively volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House to show their support for the organization. They donate their time doing such things as yard work, planting flowers and baking sweets for volunteer appreciation.
“The neat thing about the club is the cars in our show come from all over mid-Missouri and so do all the families we help out,” said Melody Bezenek, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri and a member of the club for the past 10 years.
As executive director, Bezenek oversees the house, which can host up to 14 families at once.
When members of the Central Missouri Mustang and Ford Club volunteer at the house, it warms Bezenek’s heart. “Of course I am passionate. It’s nice when your passion is contagious,” she said.
Each year, club and community members enter Mustangs in 15 different categories based on their year and body style. The categories range from 1964 convertibles to present-day specialty Mustangs.
The top three places in each category received plaques after being judged by a panel of independent, nonmember judges. This was different from previous years when contestants entered in the contest voted on their top choices in each of the categories themselves.
“This method of judging is to create a level-playing field,” said John Braun, who is in charge of the club’s website.
In order to continue the spirit of judging from previous shows, a People’s Choice Award was given to Greg Nehlik of St. Louis. This award was determined by a vote admitted by each of the contestants for their favorite model or car they felt deserved to be recognized.