Raffle for NHAEF is a Big, Sold Out Success!
Peter J. McNamara, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Automotive Education Foundation
That's right — all 1,000 tickets... sold out!
In an amazing last push over the past few weeks, NHADA was able to sell the last several hundred tickets. This final effort began in the morning of the second day of the leadership retreat, on October 18. Fueled by coffee and a thirst for success, many members of our NHADA Board of Directors "dialed for dollars" for about an hour after breakfast. After that catalyst, the count kept growing. Other NHADA members that had tickets in hand to sell began to make their final push as well. When the "Space, Raffle and Roll" party began at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, we were still a few tickets short. NHADA Chairman Michael Kopp, with microphone in one hand and cell phone in the other, cajoled, begged and sweet talked the last generous purchasers.
At 5:30 p.m., the cage stuffed with 1,000 wooden balls began turning and turning and turning… until 9 p.m. And the multitude of volunteers and NHADA staff also began taking turns pulling balls, calling off numbers, grabbing tickets, recording the numbers pulled, putting the balls back in order, and doling out various prizes throughout. The pace and excitement were dizzying. Association Partners that were present each had a chance to call off numbers and say "Hi" to the audience, as did a few board members.
During breaks in the action, we had a chance to talk with the some of the audience. One conversation stood out the most. Noah, a 17-year-old auto tech student from Dover High School was tightly gripping the ticket he won at the NHADA College Fair, a nervous smile on his face. During our conversation over the shared microphone, he won us over with his genuineness and eagerness. He plans on attending Manchester Community College's Audi program next year. When asked what he was going to do if he won the $25,000, he didn't hesitate — he would use it for tuition. When the audience found out he was looking for a job, a lot of heads turned. By the end of the night, he had at least one interview set up. While Noah didn't win the jackpot, he certainly won our hearts. I look forward to his scholarship application and seeing him at one of your shops in the near future.
When we got down to the last 50 balls and then the last 20, the atmosphere of the planetarium was thick with excitement. Halloween-like groans and shrieks were heard as hopeful ticket holders heard their numbers over the speaker. Chairman Kopp took the microphone for the last 10 balls and further energized the room when he telephoned the last few ticket holders as the near-empty cage was spun a few final times.
In the end, Matt McGovern won the $25,000 grand prize; his number was the last hold-out. However, he wasn't the only winner. Among the exhibits of rockets, astronauts and celestial bodies, we all walked away a little bit lighter in step and in heart as if walking on the moon.
Many "atta-boys" and "atta-girls" are in order — too many for me to list off. However, I do want to say a few. Larry Foss deserves a special shout out. His 130-140ish tickets sold set the tone and the foundation of our success. Mike Kopp's leadership in guiding the ticket sales and the event was critical. The Lancaster Rotarian's loaned us the set-up, gave us advice and direction, and checked and double-checked every last ball and ticket during the event. Finally, the NHADA staff who, in Alan Shepard-like fashion, rocketed along all night as they orbited around their different stations all guided by Jean "Mission Control" Conlon.