Don Wallace, co-founder of Tampa’s Lazydays RV Super Center, has committed $25,000 to the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s current pay-down-the-debt campaign for its Elkhart, Ind.-based RV/MH Hall of Fame.
Wallace’s donation comes only days after Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC, headquartered in Lincolnshire, Ill., helped turbo-charge the new fundraising campaign — announced last week – by becoming the first to make a personal $25,000 pledge aimed at helping pay off the Hall’s bank loans.
The goal is to raise $100,000 in voluntary contributions by Aug. 31 to be matched by the Robert “Boots” Ingram family, which has offered a $100,000 challenge grant for the purpose of lowering the Hall’s debt to 1st Source Bank by $200,000.
“Don Wallace was kind enough to call me late Friday afternoon and he wanted to tell me that he saw Marcus Lemonis’ $25,000 and it reminded him that it was time that he stepped up to the plate and matched his $25,000 and that the check was already written,” reports Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer.
“Then he continued to say that he heard a lot of good things that were happening at the Hall of Fame and to keep up the good work and that if there was anything else that he could do to help to feel free to call him any time,” adds Searer, who also serves as chairman of Elkhart-based supplier Ultra-Fab Products Inc.
The campaign’s quick start coincides with a spate of positive publicity the hall’s been receiving lately, including a breaking Associated Press story that’s already been picked up by the regional press and is currently posted on RVBUSINESS.com.
Searer helped AP writer Tom Coyne assemble that story over the past few weeks. “He (Coyne) felt that there was so much interest nationwide because of the fact that Obama was here four years ago when the bottom fell out of everything and, you know, Elkhart had the highest unemployment in the country and now it’s rebounding back and, suddenly, it’s a big story,” said Searer.
Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame’s board is clearly optimistic about prospects for meeting – and perhaps exceeding – the current campaign’s goals. “Absolutely,” said Searer, “we will reach the goal, and I think we’ll reach it long before August. The Ingram challenge – and the subsequent match to the challenge – is a great start at reducing the debt of the Hall of Fame.”