ROCKINGHAM – Car lovers gathered Saturday at Griffin Toyota in Rockingham for the “Cruising for a Cause” event fundraiser, which was aimed at raising funds to benefit Richmond County Special Olympics (RCSO).
RCSO gives people with disabilities the chance to enjoy themselves and learn skills, as well as competing in physical activities at the county and state level.
Earthbound, a group that consists of five men, has been coordinating fundraisers for special causes for several years. The group is made up of Jeffrey McCormick, J & M’s Store and More, Colt West, Griffin Toyota Department Manager, James White, owner of Kar Glow Detailing in Hamlet, Travis Webb, owner of T’s Wheels and Tires and Steven Franklin, owner of Franklin’s Rod Shop.
All of them are car lovers and shared the desire to want to help other, so they decided to start the fundraisers.
A total of 18 participants signed up to enter in the cruise, and began at Griffin Toyota in Hamlet. Several drivers arrived early and were ready to roll. Some of the vehicles in attendance were a 1971 Volkswagen, a Chevrolet Charger, and two low rider trucks.
The cost was $10 per vehicle and $5 per person, with all proceeds going to RCSO. All participants were also encouraged to bring a Toy for Tots, in which Griffin Toyota has a truck set up in the showroom to hold all the toys collected.
McCormick said he was inspired to reach out to RCSO after attending the Spring Games in 2016.
“I had a detail shop in which a partner of the shop had a nephew who was in RCSO,” McCormick said. “He asked me to attend one of the events, and I was able to go to the 2016 Spring Games at Richmond Senior High School.”
McCormick continued to say that as he attended the event, he noticed the excitement among the many athletes that participated that day. But he also noticed the lack of community support, which broke his heart. He was then inspired to help in some way, and that’s when the idea of the cruise came to be.
This is the first cruise Earthbound has coordinated to support RCSO, but it is an event it plans to do annually.
White discussed how their group use to be called Cars and Coffee.
“It was called Cars and Coffee because we would all meet in the morning for coffee and discuss cars” White explained, then said the group transitioned to the name Earthbound. “We are trying to get more (people) to participate in the cruise fundraisers. We encourage other car groups and businesses to join in with us. It is something fun to do for a good cause.”
West added by saying he started loving cars as a kid, and continues to do so to this day. He also explained the plan for the day, which included leaving Griffin Toyota around 2:30 p.m. and traveling on Highway 177 N to Southern Pines where they would all meet at Kick Back Jack’s.
The group then traveled on Highway 1 S and finished at Pattan’s Downtown Grille. West noted that Griffin Toyota is one of the sponsors that supports all of Earthbound’s events.
They were surprised by several other supporters showing up at their stopping points.
Earthbound also coordinates two other fundraisers throughout the year. One is held at the Richmond County Airport, and the other is held at Camp Pee Dee in Bennettsville, S.C. The proceeds from these fundraisers go to the Hamlet Middle School Red Rams to help less fortunate students receive coats and shoes for Christmas.
For anyone interested in participating with or sponsoring Earthbound, he or she is encouraged to contact White at 910-331-0984.
For more information on RCSO, contact Theressa Smith, Richmond County Special Olympics coordinator, at 910-997-8379.