BY COLIN MACDOUGALL
A red ‘71 Corvette Stingray rolls out of the Washtenaw Community College’s auto garage looking like new and the lucky winner, Dion Altadonna, stares proudly at his prize.
This event, made possible by a partnership between WCC, WCSX radio station and Holy Cross Children Services for the “Stone Soup” project, is an ongoing fundraising program that has fixed up 10 classic cars – including Altadonna’s Corvette – to raffle them off for charity.
Altadonna of St. Clair Shores has been following the “Stone Soup” project since its origination about nine years ago.
“I’ve bought tickets for most of the years for these cars. This particular one, we happened to be at the Paul Rodgers concert,” Altadonna said. “Actually, I just had 10 dollars left over because I had just bought a round of beers. I said ‘Aw, I’ll get one ticket,’ and that was it.”
John Lynch, CEO of Holy Cross Children Services, explains that the non-profit organization also partnered with other suppliers who donated the engine and different parts of the vehicle while the car itself was donated by an individual whose husband passed away. She heard about the program, reached out to WCSX and donated the Corvette.
HCCS is a charity that touches the lives of approximately 1,500 children in Michigan every day and 100 percent of the raffle’s proceeds are donated to the group according to their website.
WCC’s Auto Body Repair Department completely restored the vehicle throughout the 2015 summer semester. Scott Malnar, instructor and department chair, explained the efforts were taken on by four instructors, two full-time classified instructors and about 30 students all together.
He expressed what an excellent job the team did and mentioned that there are two or three future projects that people are inquiring about but no decisions have been made yet by the group.
Vincent Snyder, a custom cars and concepts alum and college relations specialist, describes that his most memorable moment in the class was when they mounted the vehicle to the frame after the paint job.
“When you complete something to that magnitude, you get a real sense of accomplishment,” Snyder said. “It felt great.”
In agreement is 20-year-old automotive student, Aaron Leestma, who had the opportunity to work on his first classic car through this project.
“The team was really good, everyone was real hands on and ready to work,” Leestma said. “Not a whole lot of people sitting around doing nothing.”
Lynch said the project was a big fundraiser for HCCS and it promotes them along with WCSX.
“It was the students here at WCC who put (the car) all together to look showroom new,” Lynch said.