By Lee Zaborowski, F371340
Two Country Coach motorhome owner’s clubs, both FMCA chapters, are proud to have played a major role in providing the first SoloRider specially equipped golf cart for disabled veterans in Branson, Missouri.
The Country Coach Texans chapter held a charity event in the fall of 2012, and the Country Coach International (CCI) chapter added funds it raised at an event in the fall of 2013. Together, they met the financial goal. Nearly $10,000 was raised for the cart by the two clubs.
Rally attendees at the Country Coach Texans’ Ozark Mountain Jamboree Rally in Branson, October 8-12, 2012, took away a collection of memorable events, sights, and show experiences. Sixty-six attendees in 31 coaches created a lively environment at ABC Campground during the entire event.
A rousing opening ceremony was led by the Branson High School ROTC color guard. This established a palpable patriotic mood, which stayed with us throughout the rally.
During a fundraising evening, Kathé Letulle was our moderator and auctioneer. The Adaptive Golf Program for disabled veterans was our rally charity, and we heard from Arlen Lipper, director of Branson Veterans Events & Reunions, and Dee Elledge, a member of that group’s board.
The SoloRider adaptive golf cart has many special functions, including a seat that tilts up, enabling the rider to stand and move into positions not possible on his or her own. Arlen shared stories of double-leg amputees using such a vehicle, and he said that he thought our rally donation could go a long way toward buying the first such cart in Branson.
The patriotic spirit quickly rose during the fundraiser auction. Wow, was that lively, with many bidding wars taking place. The highlight was when four members vied for a new golf club, a driver, donated by Mike Carnes. When it was all over, David Twilley, Terry Ray, Carlton Sheffield, and Derrel Letulle each had put up $150, a total of $600, for the golf club! The winners then donated the club so it would go with the cart.
Then Rich Toalson started a $100 donation challenge, resulting in 14 contributions of $100 each.
Everyone deserves recognition for their exceptional generosity. When it was all over, the Country Coach Texans raised $4,150, which we presented to Branson Veteran Events & Reunions representatives.
Lee and Jeanne Zaborowski, along with cohosts Derrel and Kathé Letulle and Carlton and Pat Scheffield, want to thank the many volunteers who pitched in to make the rally run smoothly. It really was a group effort.
Forty Country Coach International families began arriving days in advance of the chapter’s rally in Branson, which we called “A Holiday to Remember.” Folks came from 21 states, representing most corners of the United States. Nine of our attendee families have been members since the last century. We were pleased again to see a growing number of families with kids.
Our rally was held November 4-9, 2013, timed to match Veterans’ Week in Branson, which is known nationally for its recognition of our men and women in uniform.
As with the Country Coach Texans’ rally, we began with a presentation by Arlen Lipper of Branson Veteran Events & Reunions, our rally charity. A rousing opening ceremony was led by the Forsyth High School Junior ROTC color guard.
The much-anticipated Friday evening fundraiser started with the traditional 50-50 drawing of four winners; each received a cash award, and the matching amount went to the charity. Country Coach Texans had raised more than $4,000, but $3,950 was still needed to purchase and deliver that first golf cart. So, that amount was our goal.
The high-item bid was a one-of-a-kind evening jacket made by Jeanne Zaborowski and won by Gail Merrill. The thrill of the evening was a $100 challenge by Jack and Mary Lou Cassingham and matched by nearly two dozen families! After an evening of spirited bidding, not to mention much levity and camaraderie, we had raised more than $5,000. When this money was added to that from the Texans, Country Coach folks raised more than 80 percent of the cost of the golf cart. We did it!
Kathé Letulle and Jeanne and Lee Zaborowski met with Arlen Lipper on November 12 to tell him the happy news. Arlen was quite overwhelmed, to say the least.
The SoloRider was presented by Branson Veterans Events & Reunions veterans on March 29, 2014, with more than 100 in attendance. The golf cart will remain at Thousand Hills Golf Course in Branson, enabling disabled golfers to enjoy golf at its finest.
FMCA has nine Country Coach-related chapters, and most are involved in charitable fundraising. Funds typically go to the local charities in the community where a chapter rally is held. The Country Coach Texans and Country Coach International chapters are proud to have helped make this donation possible.