On the first Friday in April, Steven Beck and Tim Crawford made the nearly one-hour drive from Leavenworth to Blue Springs Ford for a special occasion.
For Blue Springs Ford, such a special occasion has become a monthly occurrence.
Beck, founder of A Ride For the Wounded, and Crawford, the organization’s treasurer, were there to pick up a $1,000 check from Helping Others, a Blue Springs Ford community project.
“We were ecstatic when we heard we would receive $1,000,” Beck said. “This will help send two veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial.”
Helping Others started in August, 2012 as a way for Blue Springs Ford to do more than give to known national charities.
“We started it just to give back,” said Bob Balderston, dealer principal. “We have been here for 40 years. We give to a lot of local charities, the local baseball teams. We were trying to find a way to give back to the smaller charities.”
From the first to the 10th of each month, people can go to www.bluespringsford.net, click on the Helping Others button at the top of the web page and nominate various charities throughout the Kansas City area.
“We don’t try to sell them anything,” Balderston said. “It is totally separate. We didn’t want to use it as a sales tool. It is not the reason we are doing it.”
All nominated charities that are approved will be listed for people to vote on from the 11th through the 26th of each month. The winner is announced on the 27th of each month.
“We don’t come up with anything,” Balderston said. “Now and then, if we have a charity like the Wounded Warriors event, we will say for this month we will contribute to the Wounded Warriors.”
That is what Blue Springs Ford will do for May for the Sixth Annual High Five Tour event that is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 23 at the dealership, which will benefit Wounded Warriors.
“It is a sight to see,” said Kyle Harris, general manager at Blue Springs Ford. “The mayor came up last year and gave us an award.”
One of the big attractions is a Mustang painted in red, white and blue. It will be at the dealership during the event before departing for the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City May 24-25.
Other than those special occasions, the $1,000 check goes to charities like Beck’s.
“You don’t realize all the different groups in the area,” said Debbie Peterson, consumer relations at Blue Springs Ford. “What really stands out to me is all the animal organizations such as several dog rescue organizations. We had a bird rescue operation. Those are the ones that stand out to me. I didn’t realize the big support system that animal operations had in the area.”
Beck, who grew up in Leavenworth, started A Ride For the Wounded to help veterans. He never served, but has family members who have served.
Each year, A Ride For the Wounded selects a military charity and then does a motorcycle ride to raise money for the organization. This year it is raising money for Honor Flight KC. A Ride For the Wounded is scheduled to do the ride for Honor Flight on July 11.
The mission of Honor Flight is to fly veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the various memorials.
To learn more about Beck’s charity, go to www.arideforthewounded.org.
“The first year we held the ride, we did the Wounded Warrior project,” Beck said. “The second year we did a survivor outreach program at Fort Leavenworth. They do scholarships for children of parents who were in the military.
“Last year we did Wreaths Across America. We put up over 1,000 wreaths in Fort Leavenworth.”
Beck said it is great that a dealership like Blue Springs Ford is willing to support so many charities in the community.
“Anything that anybody wants to do to help charities is outstanding in my book,” Beck said.
Balderston said Blue Springs Ford has helped charities from Bonner Springs to Liberty with Helping Others.
“We don’t care where they come from,” he said. “It makes you feel good to help. We are glad we are able to. That is the biggest thing.”
If you have a story you would like to see in Making a Difference, email David Boyce at Drive@ksctar.com