When donating money to a charitable organization, one doesn’t usually expect to win a car, but O’Fallon Ward 6 Alderman Ray Holden said he’s “doing absolutely marvelous” after hearing the news of his selection to be this year’s winner of a new 2016 Audi A6 from the Bommarito Automotive Group dealership in St. Louis.
“This is great, the prize wasn’t even on my radar, so surprised doesn’t even cover it really,” Holden said.
Early Wednesday morning Holden was contacted by Bommarito because three contestants were chosen out of all donors to the annual Tree of Lights Kettle campaign, and then the drawing took place. According to Holden, for every $10 donated, individuals earned a “spot in the pot.”
Holden said he earned the winning slot in the annual campaign to raise money for the Salvation Army by personally donating to Fox2News In the Morning Anchor John Pertzborn’s Kettle.
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Holden doesn’t want to disclose the total amount given to the online kettle of his choice.
“I’ve donated in the past, but this year I thought I’d give as part of the online campaign, and I chose Pertzborn’s Kettle to support the metro-east,” Holden said.
Holden is an active O’Fallon Rotary member, and he’s held a seat on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army Corp. office located in Belleville for about 12 years.
The new car has more bells and whistles than I’ve ever seen before, and it rides great. It’s a pretty color and it’s just the right size.
Ray Holden, O’Fallon Ward 6 Alderman and car winner
Joining forces with Bommarito Automotive Group since 2008, Fox2News and KPLR11 both work with local business organizations to obtain funding for the Salvation Army through a car giveaway, as a part of John Pertzborn’s Kettle at Fox2News.
Bommarito Automotive Group donated the 2016 Audi A6.
Captain Heath Sells of the Salvation Army Belleville Corp. office knows Holden well and was happy to hear of one of the local Salvation Army Board members being selected.
“When we look at board members as a whole, many times they are ambassadors representatives of the Salvation Army, and in all cases bring their gifts, talents and passions to help advise us to meet the needs of the communities that we serve,” Sells said. “And what a great example that we would have one of our members, through his donation, win a prize like this is pretty neat.”
Bommarito Salesman Chris Bosechert, of St. Charles, Mo., spoke highly of his employer’s family-owned values and the company’s long standing foothold in the St. Louis community, as well as its continuous charitable organization support.
“Bommarito Auto Group’s commitment to it’s customers and community is what drew me to the company initially, and it’s efforts like helping with the Tree of Lights campaign for Salvation Army that continue to prove (Bommarito’s) goes above and beyond,” he said.
Bosechert said he’s never been privy to helping with a car giveaway before, “so I was excited for the three contestants, and when Mr. Holden said he’d never had much luck before in winning contests or prizes in the past, he meant it I think,” Bosechert said. “He was pretty ecstatic.”
O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham was unaware of his colleague’s prize, but said he couldn’t be happier for him.
“What a wonderful thing, I’m tickled to death for him,” Graham said. “He’s a great guy, retired Air Force man who’s worked hard all his life, so he’s definitely deserving, I’d say. I’ve heard of winners of giveaways like that, as we all have, but I’ve never known anybody that’s won one.”
“The new car has more bells and whistles than I’ve ever seen before, and it rides great,” Holden said. “It’s a pretty color and it’s just the right size.”
With plans to keep his prize, Holden said he drove his 2004 Lexus 330 to the dealership Thursday morning.
“The new features like a backup camera and full navigation are neat and will take some getting used to,” he said.
Although Holden is not expected to pay for the vehicle’s cost, he does expect he will have to pay taxes on it when the time comes.
“Something that I thought was really cool was that he’s a retired Air Force (member), and the color of his vehicle is aviator blue, which he really liked too,” Bosechert said.
I want people to continue to support the Tree of Lights campaign because it’s for a good cause, so just try to keep money in the pot.
Ray Holden, O’Fallon Ward 6 Alderman and car winner
The Tree of Lights campaign runs from the first week of November to the last week in January, so donations are still encouraged, Sells said.
“The Tree of Lights campaign is the single most important fund raising event for the Salvation Army throughout the year,” Sells said. “It’s those funds that we use, and many people may just assume that we use those funds just for the Christmas season to provide the shelter, meals and toys during the holiday season, but in actuality, it’s a large percentage of our budget that enables the Salvation Army to continue to do the most good throughout the year—365 days.”
Hoping people seek to learn more about what the Salvation Army does and participate in the fundraising campaign is what Holden said he hopes the news of the car giveaway will garner.
To learn more about the Salvation Army Tree of Lights campaign visit the program website at http://stlsalvationarmy.org. The local Belleville Corp office is located at 4102 West Main St. and can be reached at 618-235-7378.
“I want people to continue to support the Tree of Lights campaign because it’s for a good cause, so just try to keep money in the pot,” Holden said.