NASCAR, NFL lend hand for Toys for Tots
By Shelley Smithssmith@salisburypost.com
The local Toys for Tots campaign is picking up speed with the help of NASCAR and the NFL.
The office of Alan Burke, CPA, held a Toys for Tots fundraising party Friday, with some very special guests.
NASCAR drivers Scott Riggs and Jamie McMurray were present for a meet and greet, as well as former NFL player Mike Morton.
“When we were discussing what to do with Christmas this year, we didn’t feel like a corporate Christmas party would be the right thing to do,” Alan Burke said. “Toys for Tots was looking for sponsors, and we asked the NASCAR drivers and Mike Morton if they could participate. It just all came together.
“I can’t say how proud and fulfilling it makes us feel,” Burke said. “It was a great all-day event.”
Of course, Toys for Tots superman Raul “Arbe” Arbelaez was present.
“He is so great and so inspiring,” Burke said of Arbelaez. “We all feed off of Arbe’s energy, and are tickled to death to work with him.”
NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray is a client of Burke’s and was happy to help.
“It seemed like a really good idea and something to do that would be an easy way to give back to the community,” McMurray said.
NASCAR great Scott Riggs has two kids of his own and knows the importance of having a Christmas for the children to enjoy.
“It’s hard to find the right people with the most needs over Christmas,” Riggs said. “You always want to give back, and this is a pretty strong organization.
“If every single area in North Carolina gave back as much as this one, we’d have plenty of toys around.”
Superbowl winner Morton now is a dentist in Kannapolis, and was happy to help.
“It’s a good program,” Morton said. “How can you not think that it’s great?”
Morton grew up giving back with his dad, stuffing stockings for the YMCA with his father.
“Rowan County has stepped up to the plate and gave wonderfully,” Arbelaez said. “The giving has been beyond my dreams.
“Everyone’s help has been overwhelming. With all of the giving of Rowan County, Alan Burke, the Chamber of Commerce and others, I’m cried out. I don’t think I have anymore tears. I wish I could give everyone the recognition they need.”
Amy Stewart of Burke’s office coordinated the party and fundraiser.
Arbelaez said that he “guarantees” this year’s campaign has far surpassed last year’s.
The last event for Toys for Tots is Saturday night at the Salisbury National Guard Armory. Hotboys Extreme is putting on a wrestling extravaganza, featuring a lumber jack match, a father and son tag team war, wrestlers Mr. Bald, Mr. Royal, Brock Van Lichienstein, Sweet Dreams, Wildman Wolf and others. Admission is free with a toy worth $5 or more, or $10 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the bell ringing at 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.