The sun glimmered off hoods and doors Saturday as Corvette fans gathered to check out more than 100 polished examples of a classic American sports car.
People from throughout Missouri traveled to the Quality Inn to participate in the Mid-Missouri Corvette Club’s 10th Annual Corvette Cup. The cup is a car show and a charity fund-raiser.
“My husband always wanted a Corvette, so we got one,” said Sandy VanMill of the Original Corvette Club of St. Louis. “But I like it as much as he does.”
Andrew James, a member of the Mid-Missouri Corvette Club, remembered his first time in one.
“I rode in my uncle’s Corvette when I was 7 years old,” he said. His uncle floored it, he said, and the rear end came around. He was hooked for life.
There is a sense of camaraderie between members of the club and other Corvette owners. “You meet a lot of nice people, and we’ve made a lot of friends,” VanMill said.
Members are not only Corvette enthusiasts, but they are also dedicated to the Central Missouri Chapter of Dream Factory Inc. The volunteer-driven organization raises money to fulfill the wishes of children from ages 3 to 17 who have life-threatening or chronic illnesses or whose quality of life has been seriously affected, such as those who have been in an accident.
“Some people think we ride around in shiny Corvettes all the time,” said Tom Mallory, co-chairman of the event. Others know it’s about more than that. “They know that what we’re doing is for a good cause.”
Mike Whitworth, chapter president of Central Missouri Chapter of Dream Factory Inc., said the group realizes that when there is a critical or chronic illness in the family, the family’s priorities are completely re-oriented and their routine becomes focused on whatever the medical problem is at the time.
“We try to give them something that will be a breath of fresh air,” he said. “We make their dreams come true.”
The group has sent children to Disneyland, given them shopping sprees and bought them computers. The group also sent one child to the Daytona 500 and another child to see a Laker’s game. The group has even provided piano lessons.
“The payoff is seeing their eyes,” said Whitworth, who is also a member of the Corvette club. “It’s hearing them talk about their experience.”
Michelle Windmoeller, a group volunteer, said the group sponsors 12 to 15 children each year.
The Corvette club presented a check for $9,000 to the group this year and has raised almost $75,000 over the past 10 years. The club is the group’s largest single contributor. The group nominated the club to Dream Factory Inc., the national group that oversees the regional divisions, and it was named Local Corporate Sponsor of the Year. Whitworth said the award commends all that the club contributes.
“It’s not just about the dollar signs,” he said.