Ford holding fundraiser for THS stadium and track projects

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2010

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Test driving a Mustang muscle car at Thompson High School Oct. 2 could lead to major renovations at the school’s Larry Simmons Stadium.

Ernest McCarty Ford in Alabaster will team up with the school to help raise funds for a new track facility near THS, a synthetic turf field, a new field house and other renovations at school facilities.

From 9 a.m.-2 p.m., the dealership will have 2011 models of the Ford Taurus, Fusion Sport, Fiesta and Mustang at the school available to test drive.

“I think we are planning to be out there until about 2 on Saturday, because I’m sure everyone will want to get home early to watch the ball game,” said Ernest McCarty General Sales Manager Carl Valentine. “But if there are 20 people still lined up to test drive at 2, we will stay out there as long as we need to to get them taken care of.”

For each person who test drives one of the vehicles, Ford will donate $20 to the Alabaster Sports and Entertainment Foundation. The company will donate up to $6,000 to the school during the event.

ASEF and THS Key Club volunteers will help organize the test drives during the “Drive One 4 UR School” event.

“One of the employees at Ernest McCarty is a Thompson parent, and knew Ford was offering this program,” said ASEF Treasurer Marty Handlon, noting most of the money raised during the event will be used to build a new track facility near the high school, which will either be constructed behind the school’s gym or near Municipal Park.

Everyone who test drives a car during the event must be at least 18 years old and have a valid drivers license. Only one person per household can participate in the event.

“We’re excited to help raise money for Thompson High School and at the same time introduce parents, teenagers and other drivers to our high-quality lineup and innovative safety technologies,” said Ernest McCarty Business Manager Chris Williamson.

“We know it’s important that students continue to have opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, and that’s why over the past two years it has been a privilege to help support these important programs,” Williamson added.

Through donations from local businesses like Coca-Cola, Full Moon Barbecue, Kona Ice and United Logo, ASEF has been able to nearly raise enough money to install a turf field at Larry Simmons Stadium, Handlon said.

“With the turf field project, we are just waiting on a few signed contracts to get back to us,” she said. “I think we have enough sponsorships to fund that part of the project. We will probably break ground on that after football season.”

For more information about the fundraiser, or do donate to the stadium and track projects, visit