By Ryn Gargulinski: Freedom Newspapers
TUCUMCARI — It’s wonderful to win a new car — just ask Tucumcari’s Alex Mills, who struck gold two years ago with a Ford Mustang. The only problem was Alex was 5 years old at the time.
The wheels he won from the 2003 Altrusa Car Party didn’t go to waste, however. Alex’s dad, Steve Mills, said he sold the car and put the money away for his children’s college education after thanking Altrusa for making the big win possible.
“Altrusa does a great job for the different causes in town,” he said.
Now it’s car party time again, slated for 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the Elks Club. Altrusa President Glenda Reid said tickets go on sale well in advance because folks gobble them up quickly.
The $100 ticket gets the buyer and a pal a barbecue dinner at the Elks club and a chance to win door prizes or the car. This year’s grand prize is a 2005 Ford Ranger XLT Super-Cab pickup from Big Country Ford in Tucumcari. Only 275 tickets are available.
“That gives us $27,500 to pay for the vehicle (which they get at cost), the Elks club provides the dinner, and we’re left with about $10,000 to give back to the community,” Reid said.
Past Altrusa efforts have included the heliport pad at Trigg Memorial Hospital, Tucucmari Skate Board Park, a hefty $10,000 to the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and funding for domestic violence and literacy programs. Reid said Thursday that Altrusa was busy delivering books for preschool and kindergarten kids.
With an average of 300 to 400 people showing up, Reid said the car party ends up as one of the town’s biggest social events. It is also the only fund-raiser of the year for Tucumcari’s Altrusa.
“I talk to other Altrusa clubs and they are busy with spaghetti and enchilada dinners or garage sales,” Reid said, “and they end up making $1,500.”
She said the annual car party lets Altrusa members focus their efforts on one gala affair, as they have been since the car party’s inception in 1978.
Tucumcari’s Altrusa began in 1972; the overall club began in 1917 as a women’s version of the Rotary Club which once would not allow females to join, Reid said.
She said as far as she knows Tucumcari is the only location in which one annual car party is held, although 404 different Altrusa clubs are in service all over the world.
For car party tickets, call:
• Ellen White at 461-0510
• Dorothy Kvols 461-0156
• Glenda Reid 461-2244