Winslow Ford dealership supports community through fundraising events

Winslow Ford’s Seth Gaston presents a $1,000 check to members of the Winslow Cancer Support Group. Pictured from left: Ann Egan, Petra Velez, Seth Gaston, Bert Cole and Ginger Dickson. Submitted photo

Winslow Ford’s Seth Gaston presents a $1,000 check to members of the Winslow Cancer Support Group. Pictured from left: Ann Egan, Petra Velez, Seth Gaston, Bert Cole and Ginger Dickson. Submitted photo

This fall Winslow Ford took part in two fundraisers to benefit the community that the long-standing local car dealership calls home.

As part of Ford Motor Company's Drive 4 UR School program, Winslow Ford teamed up with Winslow High School (WHS) and members of the local community Sept. 8 to help raise much-needed money for various WHS sports and clubs.

More than 300 Winslow area residents test-drove a Ford vehicle at Winslow Ford during the Sept. 8 test-drive event. Winslow Ford and Ford Motor Company then donated $20 per test-drive to WHS. Plus, this year Winslow Ford invited participants to take a second test-drive in the all new 2013 Ford Escape, and earn an additional $10 per test-drive.

"This was my first year at Winslow Ford, and I am more than thrilled that so many people from the Winslow area turned out to support Winslow High School. I've never been more proud to be our local Ford dealer," said Seth Gaston, Winslow Ford general manager. "Participants had the opportunity to take a fun, casual, no-pressure test-drive in a brand new 2013 Ford vehicle of their choice, while at the same time lending our WHS students and community a helping hand."

This was the third consecutive year that Winslow Ford and WHS have partnered to sponsor the event. This year they raised a total of $7,820.

Since its inception in 2007, the Drive 4 UR School program has generated more than $11 million in donations for nationwide high schools. Winslow Ford has helped WHS earn $16,290.

According to Kari Ortiz, Winslow Ford finance manager, the money raised during the Drive 4 UR School program has helped ensure that extracurricular activities like sports and music programs continue in local communities despite budget constraints and cutbacks.

"With all of the cutbacks in school funding, finding creative ways to fundraise is so important, and all of us at Winslow Ford are happy to be able to participate in this event," Gaston said. "Winslow Ford is excited to be able to present a check for almost $8,000 to WHS Principal Scott Gilmore to be used for such a wide variety of programs benefiting so many students."

As part of its Go Further With Ford Night on Nov. 15, Winslow Ford presented a free fundraising event to benefit the Winslow Cancer Support Group. Customers participated in the final "Random Acts of Fusion" adventure, which provided them an opportunity to see the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion up close.

"We all want to be part of something bigger, and Go Further With Ford Night was our way of offering our customers the chance to give back to our community, have a lot of fun, enjoy the final random act, and meet the all-new Ford Fusion in person," said Gaston. "For each person who attended Go Further With Ford Night, Winslow Ford matched the $10 donation from Ford Motor Company to the Winslow Cancer Support Group."

Winslow Ford raised a total of $1,000 for the Winslow Cancer Support Group during its Go Further With Ford Night.

"We are thrilled to be able to present a $1,000 check to Petra Velez of the Winslow Cancer Support Group. We know this group works hard in our community to assist those who are fighting their own battle with cancer," Gaston said.

Participants at Go Further With Ford Night had the unique opportunity to compete to win a special VIP experience with American Idol. Winslow Ford set up a computer and webcam at the dealership allowing participants to view a special message from American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and then test their judging skills on camera, in true American Idol style.

The dealership sent the entries electronically to Ford's program headquarters, where a team of experts evaluated and selected one nationwide winner to receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to Hollywood and a unique VIP experience with American Idol. Ford did not choose a local resident as the winner.

"A lot of these things and events Ford has their dealers do, and you don't have to participate in them, you can choose not to," added Gaston. "But if we get the opportunity to raise some money for a local place or a good cause we're dang sure going to take it."

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