The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 24, 2013

Car Club contributes to community

BECKLEY — If you’ve ever been to a car show in the Beckley area, you’ve probably seen the work of the Shade Tree Car Club. The club has been organizing shows for 23 years and aside from their love of classic cars, the group says they also love their charity work.

Members of the club gave three checks to local organizations on Wednesday as a way to thank them for the work in the community.

“Today we gave checks to Jackie Withrow Hospital, Hospice, and Raleigh County Humane Society,” club president Okie Thompson said. “We do this yearly. That's from the money from our car shows. We present eight car shows a year. We only keep money to operate the car shows on and the rest of it goes to charity.”

Thompson says the club chose these three groups for the great things they do for locals.

“The club has been having car shows at Jackie Withrow, which was formerly Pinecrest, for the last 23 years,” Thompson said. “This is a nursing home and these people don't really have a whole lot. This money helps them to buy Christmas presents and things they need. Hospice is also a great organization.

“Last year we started giving money to the Humane Society, which is also a great organization. All the people in our club have animals or pets so we decided to start giving to the Raleigh County Humane Society for the puppies and the kitties.”

Thompson says the club gets its money for donations from a variety of sources.

“We charge to show off the cars at shows, but we don't charge the people who want to come and look,” he said. “We make money from the T-shirts, selling popcorn, people showing off their cars, and we have a lot of people who just come right up and donate money to the club because they know it's going to a good cause. The only thing we spend money on is our T-shirts.”

“We have 14 members and we all work around 12 hours per car show,” Thompson added. “To join our club there's no fee. It's free if you want to become a member. We just ask that you help out at the shows. We're all car people. We all have antique cars and we just love cars. We're probably one of the oldest car clubs in the state.”

The club’s secretary and treasurer says the group takes all the help it can get.

“We accept any form of donations,” Marlene Stanley said. “If you can donate any kind of things that we can give away at the show at Jackie Withrow Hospital, then that's just great. We always appreciate the help.”

Thompson says the club tries to put on several car shows each year.

“We have eight shows coming up next year,” he said. “As long as we can continue to keep the car shows going, we will donate to charitable organizations. We've never missed a show and never canceled. Not once. Rain, shine, or whatever. We have had as many as 250 cars and as little as 60 at a show. We have six shows at Rally's, two at Tamarack, one here at Jackie Withrow, and one at the Crossroads Mall.

“You should come to the Jackie Withrow show to see the look on the patients' faces,” Thompson added. “Outside when we present all of the cars, some of these people are really old and have had cars like some of the ones in the show, they will smile themselves nearly to death.”

The Shade Tree Car Club ended up giving away almost $3,000 to the groups. Jackie Withrow Hospital got $1,500 and Hospice and the Raleigh County Humane Society each were given $500.

— E-mail: cneff@register-herald.com

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