MINERVA - With the raffle of a fully restored antique mack truck, Saturday, Jan. 9 marked the end of the 2009 fundraising at Sporty's Iron Duke Saloon. The 1961 Model B Mack Truck raised $20,000 for Essex County Toys for Kids. This tax deductible charitable organization is also based at Sporty's.
The truck, seen parked in front of Sporty's during this past summer and fall, was an anonymous donation from a private collection. The lucky winner was Michael A. Morrissey, who was among approximately 400 people who purchased raffle tickets. Morrissey owns a construction and excavation business in Fort Ann.
The fundraising efforts at Sporty's over the past year were especially successful. Four hundred needy children in eight school districts in Essex County benefitted from the donations of hats, coats, boots, new clothes and, of course, new toys during their toy drive.
With the raffling of the restored truck, David Beale (Sporty) and his co-organizer Carl Russell of North Hudson can now expand the Toys for Kids program to the remaining three school districts in Essex County. Current participating districts include Elizabethtown, Keene, Lake Placid, Minerva, Newcomb, Schroon Lake, Westport, and Willsboro.
The program started in a modest way four years ago by Beale Russell when 15 children benefitted from the donations. Today, a spacious and secure area has been established as a means to store all the donated items for the Toys for Kids program. Beale says that donations are accepted year-round, not just at Christmas time.
Beale and Russell said they wished to thank everyone who purchased raffle tickets for the truck as well as all friends, customers, and businesses who supported the Toys for Kids program this past year.
"Without the amazing support we've received this past year, this never would have happened," said Beale. "We thrive on being more than a tavern - we are also a community center and museum!"