Darryl Searer, chairman and president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame

Darryl Searer, chairman and president of the RV/MH Hall

Darryl Searer, chairman and president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Barry Cole, president of MH Insurance Services and past chairman of the Hall, unveiled a new five-year fundraiser during the Manufactured Housing Institute’s 78th Annual Meeting on Sept. 15th at the Westin Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

After updating the MH leaders of the Hall’s current financial position, Searer urged the attendees to help the Hall retire its debt by pledging their support for the campaign.

Explaining to the group that the Hall’s debt was a result of unfulfilled pledges Cole stated in a press release, “In 2007 our idea was to construct a great legacy building that would include an event center, library and museum with unique display models on 40 acres, and it was to be completely debt free. Fortunately, the facility was built; but unfortunately, we only received $7 million of the $12 million pledged.”

Cole continued, “Darryl Searer has been our volunteer president for the past two-and-a-half years working full time with no salary to reduce the Hall’s debt while building and maintaining the Hall’s integrity. We have made significant progress under Darryl’s leadership.”

Searer said, “Over the past 30 months we have reduced the debt by an average of $100,000-plus per month–that’s over $3 million in debt reduction from the $5.5 million owed two and a half years ago. We were able to accomplish this through fundraisers and by cutting expenses, increasing income, and renegotiating with our creditors.”

Today, the Hall has only two creditors and debt has been reduced to less than $2.45 million.

The idea to start the MH debt elimination plan is a result of Cole’s conversations with Kevin Clayton. “Kevin made the suggestion after learning of the progress that has been made at the Hall,” Cole said. “He cited the Hall’s sound management, the board assurances to never borrow again, and its improved financial position as reasons for his decision to support the Hall. We are extremely pleased and grateful that Kevin pledged a donation of $40,000 per year for the next five years for a total contribution of $200,000.”

In honor of Clayton’s suggestion and generosity, Searer announced the new fundraiser would be called the “Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge.”

Joe Stegmayer, president, Cavco Industries Inc., was quick to embrace  the fundraiser, noting, “We are presently reviewing the amount Cavco will be contributing to this worthwhile cause and will announce our pledge in October.”