On a cloud-covered Thursday afternoon, the heavy clouds were temporarily lifted by an energetic group of car enthusiasts.
The Crook County Rodders provided an Appreciation Cruise for first responders at St, Charles Prineville, Prineville Police Department, Crook County Sheriff's Department and Crook County Fire and Rescue.
The Crook County Rodders converged with classic cars at the Prineville St. Charles hospital at 11:45 a.m., with medical staff looking on. The drivers cut their engines upon arriving in front of the hospital, while local resident Mary Chapman sang the Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America. Tom Jay set up the technology and sound to amplify Chapman's voice for the event.
It was a touching moment, while all those present joined in a moment of reflection during the national anthem.
Todd Shields, St. Charles Prineville Vice President and Hospital Administrator, expressed sincere appreciation for the cruise and the respect paid to his staff.
"It's a great honor, its great to see the amount of people that turned out in the community in the cars, to come and thank those first responders who are working," he commented.
Crook County Rodder's President Lynn Arnett was appreciative that it did not rain. He contacted St. Charles in April, but the timing wasn't right to do the event at that time. He rallied his members to try again in May and was happy with the turnout.
"The Rodders joined all Prineville residents in showing appreciation to our medical professionals, law enforcement and all first responders," said Arnett of the cruise. "Our united strength is our weapon against COVID-19. The Rodders hope our cruise showed our respect for first responders and brought long over-do smiles for local residents."
Immediately after exiting the parking lot of the hospital, the drivers from the Crook County Rodders went by the police department, sheriff's office and CCFR.
"It turned out really well," commented Crook County Rodders Vice-President Randy Halcombe.
He added that the club does several events for the community. One of the unique fundraisers they support is 4VR RIP. The organization is a nonprofit dedicated to restoring unfinished classic vehicles left behind by servicemen or women and first responders killed or wounded in action. It was founded by a veteran, and the goal is to fulfill the dreams of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, through their shared love of cars.
Arnett also indicated that their club supports Tunnels to Towers, a national non-profit that helps families financially who are left behind when they lose a first responder. Their club also does a number of fundraisers that benefit the local community.
Debbie Golden is the secretary for the non-profit group. She added that the group helps however they can for anyone who asks.
"They are a great group of people, very nice, very caring," she reflected of Crook County Rodders. "They love the community, love the police, fire and Sheriff. It is a very eclectic group and they do wonderful things for the community—and we donate time, and money and anything we can to help. We have high hopes for the community—and we want them to know how much everybody cares."
She thinks its important for everyone to know how much people are appreciated.
"We have our cars, and we like to have fun, but we also have a purpose," she concluded.
Questions and correspondence for the Crook County Rodders:
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