Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 13, 2014

Cole Harley-Davidson hosts fundraiser for Community Christmas Tree

BLUEFIELD — With temperatures in the city of Bluefield climbing above 85 degrees, Christmas was probably not on the minds of many people. However, that was not the case for Chaz Cole and the folks at Cole Harley-Davidson on Bland Street.

“This is something we started talking about back in February or March when we had our final wrap-up meeting after the Community Christmas Tree event in December,” Chaz Cole said as the smile grew across his face. “Trying to raise money for the Community Christmas Tree in December can be hard, so we talked about a summertime fundraiser that we could do. We’ve been working with the East River Street Rods on this and having a blast.”

With the popular local band, Southern Nights, providing the soundtrack, classic car enthusiasts along with motorcycle lovers joined together to support a good cause. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph started the Community Christmas Tree event in 1918 to make sure that all children could have a little Christmas joy. Sometime in the 1930s, the newspaper used a sketch of two children wearing rags with the little girl telling her brother, “Jimmie,” that: “Maybe he’ll come next year.” The sketch continues to symbolize the program, and people often refer to the annual fundraising effort as “The Little Jimmie Campaign.”

“When we decided on this event as a fundraiser, East River Street Rods was eager to join with us,” Stephanie Gwaltney, marketing director of Cole Harley-Davidson said. “Teaming up with East River Street Rods was a natural connection because they are already serving as Little Jimmie volunteers.”

“Chaz and Stephanie put all of this together,” Don Necessary said as he worked to get the classic cars in line.

“I’m a ‘41, but my car is a 1940,” Mercer County Magistrate Jim Dent said. “I started putting my police car together back when I was Bluefield chief of police.”

Don Rice signed people in and tended one of the donation buckets. “I don’t know if I should say this, but one person put a $50 in the bucket,” Rice said. “That’s a lot.”

Along with music, classic cars and motorcycles, people attending the party were also treated to a cookout.

“Chaz had trophies made in the shape of pistons,” Necessary said. “That’s pretty cool.”

∏— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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