Hinesville Ford joined Ford dealerships across the county in supporting local schools’ fine arts and sports programs, many of which are being cut due to budget constraints.
Hinesville Ford held a Drive 4 UR School event Oct. 30 to reach a fundraising goal of $6,000 for Liberty County High School.
"We had over 300 test drivers on Saturday," said Jessica Burgstiner, Hinesville Ford project manager. "That is an awesome turnout and even more than we expected."
A check of $6,000 will be sent to the school.
Burgstiner said this event was the first time Hinesville Ford had participated in the Drive 4 UR School program, but promised it would not be the last.
"We all had so much fun," she said. "The school was great. We had volunteers from both the school and the dealership who participated in this. We even had some teachers and the principle of Bradwell Institute come out and support LCHS by test driving a new Ford. I will be working with Bradwell to do an event with them in the spring."
Burgstiner said she was moved to see so many residents participate in the fundraiser to support the school, adding she was proud to represent Hinesville Ford.
"We know funding for school programs is hard to come by, and we want to do our part to help make sure these programs remain available," she said.
Since the start of Ford’s Drive 4 UR School program in 2007, more than $16 million in donations have been generated for high schools nationwide, according to a Ford Company news release.
Featured vehicles at the local test-drive event included the fuel-efficient Fusion and Focus, and the electric C-Max. Test drives lasted about seven-10 minutes.
"I was very pleased with the turnout, and I believe we had enough test drives to earn the maximum amount, which is $6,000, for our school," LCHS Principal Paula Scott said.
Scott said the school won’t know for certain how much money was raised until all the participant forms are verified by Ford.
"In addition to the test drives, we had lots of fun activities for children, including a hayride, face painting, pumpkin painting, cookie decorating and games," Scott said. "We also sold school-spirit items and baked goods. The money raised will be used to benefit students, and it will be divided among those groups that participated on Saturday, including our PBIS (positive behavior interventions and supports) team, football boosters, cheerleaders, Future Farmers of America, student council, Girl Talk mentoring program and band boosters."
Scott said she and LCHS faculty and students are appreciative of Hinesville Ford for collaborating with the school on the fundraiser.
"They did a fantastic job organizing the event, and they had a lot of employees who volunteered their time to work on Saturday," Scott said.
Burgstiner said several local businesses and organizations donated items for gift bags, including VIP Office Furniture and Supply, The Heritage Bank, Whitman’s Pharmacy, Hinesville Fire Department and E-Z Quick Stop. Carolyn the pink fire truck also put in an appearance courtesy of Liberty County Fire Station 15, according to Burgstiner.
In addition, Jerry Reaves won the Hinesville Ford-sponsored drawing for a flat-screen TV.
The dealership was established in 1914.