It is with humble gratitude that Mary and I reflect back on this past Veterans Day weekend. There are no words that can adequately describe the way we feel right now, after participating in our three-day veterans fundraising event, Hat Trick for Heroes. But I will try. Not only did the events raise over $100,000 for the Michigan Disabled American Veterans organization, we also experienced some very special moments in time. One of the highlights was the Thursday night Gala Event, where we were able to welcome comedian and host of CNBC’s Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay Leno as the VIP Guest of Honor. In addition to keeping us entertained and belly-laughing for over an hour, Jay did a fantastic job of making everyone feel comfortable and appreciated. He is one of the most down-to-earth people we have ever met, and America’s number one authority on automobiles. We knew he was a true “gearhead” but were nonetheless astounded at the depth of his knowledge on cars in the museum’s collection. And it was unreal to have him thank me at the end of his talk, where I got one of his legendary bear hugs. All the family members, guests and staff members that had the chance to shake his hand or snap a photo with him felt the same way. We are very thankful that Jay was able to help make the event such a huge fundraising success. It was also humbling to have so many veterans among our special guests, because they are the reason why everyone worked so hard to make this event a success. Jay also acknowledged the need for continued support for all veterans, and that while the VA hospitals do a great job taking care of injured military members, their needs extend beyond. This is why the Michigan DAV is an organization that we are proud to support. Not only do they provide transportation to veterans who need help getting to medical appointments, they were also one of the first organizations to provide counseling for veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome. They also support family members and help homeless vets get the financial aid they need to get back on their feet and find jobs. I was able to meet several people that the organization has helped first hand. Thank you to all our special guests, who came from all over the country to attend. There are also no words to sufficiently thank all the staff members that worked so hard to make this event a huge success. We hope you all know that we recognize and appreciate your efforts. It would not have been possible without you.
On Friday, Nov. 11, the Stahl Automotive Museum opened its doors once again to veterans, current service members, and anyone wishing to pay tribute. As in past years, the event was free to attend. Donations were accepted on behalf of the Michigan DAV. There were activities specially prepared to honor our service members and we witnessed much discussion between the generations and the veterans themselves. Many attended in uniform and enjoyed meeting old and new friends. As in previous years, we were honored to have veterans come up and thank us for hosting this event. It is truly we that are honored to be able to do this small thing. We are filled with gratitude for your service and your sacrifices to our country.
On Saturday, Nov. 12, the fundraising continued for the Michigan Disabled American Veterans at the third and final event in the Hat Trick for Heroes. With so many hockey fans in our family and at the company, this event was something that brought us all together for a good cause. We were very pleased that over 1,000 people attended. The St. Clair Shores Hockey arena was filled with fans sporting Red Wings and Stahls jerseys, as well as printed hats, t-shirts and other items sold to raise money for the veterans. Thank you once again to the Detroit Red Wings Alumni who supported this event and also, for not killing our players. It was a great game and we are proud of all our Team Stahls members who trained, practiced and participated.
This won’t be the last time you hear me say it, but thank you to everyone who helped make this three day event one of our most successful fundraising events ever. Without your hard work, it wouldn’t have been possible. A heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers behind the scenes at all the events. It was all for the veterans, and we know you all agree that they are more than deserving.