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Freedom Ford donates money to area athletics

Thursday, December 23, 2010

(Photo)
Freedom Ford salesman Jeremy Stone presents a $4,000 check to Salem High Athletic Director Wendel Smith. Salem sports programs earned the money by bringing 202 adults to the school to test drive Ford Motor Company vehicles. Athletes (from left) Rocky Smith, Ashley Brooks, and Autumn Coffmann hope some of the money will be used to buy equipment for their teams.
Salem High School's Athletics Department is definitely going to replace some old uniforms this year. But other needs will have to go to the back burner.

At least, that was the situation until the Ford Motor Company's "Drive One 4 UR School" program came along.

"This money will give us the opportunity to buy a little extra this year," said Salem Athletic Director Wendel Smith.

The money Smith was speaking about is a $4,040 check presented to the school on Dec. 15 by Freedom Ford Salesman Jeremy Stone.

This summer, Freedom Ford brought eight brand new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles to the school to offer free test drives.

While those who took the vehicles for a spin did not have to pay anything, Ford donated $20 to the school for each test drive.

The athletic department devised a plan, setting up times for players from different teams to bring their parents and other interested adults.

By the end of the day, 202 people, age 18 and older, had taken test drives, earning more than $4,000 for Salem's athletic programs.

"Ford sees Drive One 4 UR School as a fun way to connect with schools and help cash strapped sports programs," said Stone. "We're not really trying to sell cars on test drive days but, if the drives bring business our way, great."

According to Athletic Director Smith, the school system's budget provides money for boys and girls sports programs, but the department often edges toward the red by the end of the school year.

"We usually don't ask our student athletes to sell things to raise money," said Principal Wayne Guiltner. "A yearly golf tournament is the main fundraiser for the athletic department. The test drive program is a nice bonus. We'll be able to get some things programs have needed but couldn't immediately afford."

This year, Freedom Ford also held test drive days at Highland, Calico Rock and Melbourne high schools.

The events earned the four schools more than $16,000 from the Ford Motor Company.



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