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BI band raises more than $40K for uniforms
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From left: Joe Benavides, Jessica Benavides, Rebecca Scott, Jeremy Fermin, Scott Carrier, Cathy Atkins, Kevin Delosier, Jessica Burgstiner and Kim Payne pose for a photo at last weeks $6,620 check-presentation ceremony at Hinesville Ford. The money brought the Bradwell Institute bands total raised for new uniforms to more than $40,000. - photo by Photo by Katelyn Umholtz

The Tiger Band Boosters Club of Bradwell Institute picked up a $6,620 check June 12 at Hinesville Ford, giving the band the last bit of money needed to purchase new uniforms to the tune of about $40,000.
For two years, the booster club and band students have been raising funds and accepting community donations. BI band director Jeremy Fermin said the students’ current uniforms are more than 20 years old.
“Getting new uniforms was a major goal we had just because Bradwell has had the uniforms they are wearing now since I was in high school and even before then. So it was time,” Fermin said.
Last week’s check-acceptance ceremony was held at Hinesville Ford because the dealership helped the boosters club facilitate its biggest fundraiser, the Drive 4 UR Community event, which, according to band camp chairwoman and chaperone Rebecca Scott, brought area residents to Ford to test drive cars and get inspections done.
According to the Ford Motor Company’s Drive 4 UR Community website, Ford dealers team up with local nonprofits to schedule the test-drive events. The dealers provide the cars to be test-driven and work with the nonprofits to organize and publicize the fundraisers. For every valid test drive completed, Ford donates $20 to the participating nonprofit or community group.
“Ford was actually our biggest fundraiser,” Scott said. “We did the community test drive, and through all of the people that came in, test drove cars and got the inspection in the back, that is what we’re here collecting the check for.”
In addition to the Ford initiative, the booster club and band students raised money through hard work, several other fundraisers — including two Pizza Hut benefit nights — and a yard sale. Other businesses and corporate sponsors, such as Golden Corral and Coldwell Banker, Holtzman Realtors, helped out as well.
“In general, the corporate sponsors gave a substantial amount, and then we had some private donations that really helped us reach our goal,” said Fermin, who took over as band director two years ago.
The original plan was to buy 100 uniforms, but after Fermin and Bradwell Principal Scott Carrier examined the anticipated band-involvement numbers for next year, they realized they’d need at least 120 uniforms.
Kim Payne, last year’s fundraising chairwoman, said the band is improving and attracting more students because of Fermin.
“With Jeremy Fermin here, the band is headed in a new direction, so it was time for the uniforms to change,” Payne said. “The kids are excited about it, and it’s going to give new life to the performances.”
The new uniforms will arrive in time for the coming school year, and the band plans to debut them at Bradwell’s football game against cross-town rival Liberty County High School.
“We want our band to be competitive with other bands across the region, and we think that putting them in these more modern and up-to-date uniforms will allow them to be more competitive,” Carrier said. “Not to mention the fact that we want to show them we recognize the effort and hard work they’re putting into the band program.”

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