Hot Rods for Harrison supports Mauldin family

Sharon Scott thinks of Harrison Mauldin as a son.

That’s why she knew something had to be done when she heard the Ridgefield High School graduate was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma — an aggressive and rare form of leukemia.

“Once I had Harrison on my mind, the event was going to be for him no matter what,” said Scott, a member of the Memory Lane Cruisers club that’s organizing and hosting this weekend’s Hot Rods for Harrison car show.

“He is one of my son's best friends growing up, and they are still close now,” she said. “I have them all over when Nick is home on leave and we do family dinners. Harrison is another one of my boys, love him lots ...

“When I heard about him, I automatically said, ‘We have to do this for Harrison.’”

Hot Rods for Harrison will support Mauldin as he undergoes almost a year of chemotherapy. The free event will be held at the Lounsbury House Sunday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature a silent auction, local food vendors, a 50/50 raffle, and various prizes.

The rain date is Sunday, July 23.

David Coles, who is the president of Memory Lane Cruisers, said putting on car shows is worth it to see “the smiles on the people’s faces we’re doing it for.”

The club has also partnered with the town’s volunteer fire department.

“We’ll have a fire truck there so that the kids have something to do,” Scott said. “And the police will be there, too. So it’s really not just for car-lovers.

“It’s a family-friendly event with hopefully something for everyone to come by and enjoy. And it’s free to come in, and the more the merrier.”

Community effort

The club’s annual car show helps raise funds for a person or local charity in need.

“One year, we did it for SPHERE, and one year for Cody Dingee. Last year, it was for Justin Cowen,” Scott said.

“Everybody chips in,” Coles added. “We have a fairly good-sized club, and it’s a group effort.”

Scott said that preparation for the event and all the visiting cars — which are entered at $15 per vehicle — is a lot of hard work.

“We have to get all the advertising done, collect donations for the silent auctions, collect donations to put in the goodie bags, and find vendors to come,” Scott said.

However, club members have gotten it down to a science.

“Because you do it every year, it seems seamless,” Scott said.

New digs

Adding to the never-ending, event-planning list for this year’s Hot Rods for Harrison show is the club’s new location at the Lounsbury House.

“I thought it would be nice to have it there, because Melanie [Mauldin’s mother] is director of the community center,” said Scott. “I thought having it there would make the connection a bit better.”

Thanks to the increased space, the club will be able to host a silent auction and a bake sale this year.

“Last year, it was nice to have 128 cars in two parking lots, which is probably the largest we’ve ever had,” Coles said of the fund-raiser for Justin Cowen. “With the larger venue this year, we’re hoping for double that.”

“We were thrilled to house this event at Lounsbury because Harrison’s mother, Melanie, works at Lounsbury House, and she is a very important part of the community and a great friend to all of us,” said Liz Goldstone, president of the Lounsbury House’s board of directors.

The board saw an opening on Sunday, July 16, that was perfect for the car show.

“We were thrilled to put this on the calendar for everybody,” Goldstone said. “We think this will be a fun event, and we expect it to be a very successful fundraiser for, and we’re really, really excited to have it and to host it.”

Helping Harrison

Scott said that her favorite part of the event is knowing that the donations are going to help someone she has known for years.

“Now that most of the work is done, I’m looking forward to being there and seeing everyone enjoy it, and seeing Melanie and Harrison,” she said. “Because I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t seen them in a while. I was telling her recently, ‘I can’t wait to see your face. I missed it.’”

Coles said that Hot Rods for Harrison is just the latest example of the club’s evolution as a community-first organization.

“When I took over as president, we decided we were going to do local shows to help the community.”

“We’ve done very well in the past couple of years,” he said. “It’s a one-time event, but it pulls the entire town together, showing that we care about the community.”