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Gulf Coast Regional Mustang club hits $500k in donations

Members of the Gulf Coast Regional Mustang Club presented checks to three charities at the Pensacola Fairgrounds from the funds raised in a large car show held earlier in March.

Representatives handed $3,000 checks to each of the three organizations focused on helping children and families. With this presentation, the club has reached an important milestone, according to Lamarr Seader. Over the past 34 years, the club has donated more than $500,000 dollars to local charities.

"We enjoy it," said Ron Raven, president of the GCRMC. "It feels really good to be able to give back."

Raven says there were 7,000 to 10,000 in attendance at the car show held on the Pensacola Fairgrounds earlier this year in March. Each member donated $40 to participate in the show. The event was completely free to the public from parking to admission, though they accepted donations.

"It presents an avenue to do something other than sitting in the garage," Raven said with a chuckle while talking about the club. "We're a tight group."

The weather was rough this year, which cut back on the number of vehicles that attended, according to Seader. The forecast prior to the event was rain with a chance of hail.

Though the weather may have been uncooperative, the club still managed to rake in around $2,200 in additional donations at the event from parking and admissions.

Five other car clubs joined the car show with the GCRMC. There were the Dodge and Chrysler club, early Ford Falcon enthusiasts, the Gulf Coast Jeep Club, Christian Motorcycles and the Panhandle British Car Club.

Representatives were on hand Monday to accept the donations from the Ronald McDonald House, the Hadji Shrine and the Gulf Coast Wings of Hope. Though they are different organizations, they share a united goal of helping children, and the families of children who need hospital care.

The Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida will put the funds toward their housing initiative. They provide places for the families to stay close to the hospital where their children are hospitalized. In 2012, the local chapter has helped 1,000 families with lodging.

"Imagine if you have a premature child in the hospital and you live two hours away in Crestview," said Judy Burns, executive director. "We provide a place for them to stay close, just minutes away, to their children"

The Hadji Shrine will be utilizing that money for their Transportation Fund for Children. Hospitalization is provided at no cost at the Shriners Hospitals, but getting to the 22 hospitals spread across north America can be costly.

The Hadji Shriners will be using the funds to transport children, covering the gas and hotel stays to the two closest Shriners Hospitals. One hospital specializing in orthopedic care is in Tampa, according to Potentate Darrel Mashburn. The other is a burn center in Galveston, Texas and specializes in skin conditions and cleft palates.

This article originally appeared on Santa Rosa Press Gazette: Gulf Coast Regional Mustang club hits $500k in donations

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