The surprise on Karen Moessner’s face was priceless.
As a recipient in Fallon Ford-Toyota’s annual Pay It Forward program, Domestic Violence Intervention has never received more than $2,500. When Moessner, executive director of DVI, saw this year’s amount, she gasped and put her hands to her face. DVI received a $5,000 check from General Manager Tim Mitchell as co-owner Chris Henning looked on.
“This is such a shock,” she said. “We don’t get donations like that.”
Moessner, who’s been involved with the agency for 30 years, said DVI will use the money, along with other saved funds, to purchase a minivan to help transport domestic violence victims and supplies.
“This is a joyous part of the season,” she said.
Fallon Ford-Toyota donates $50 from each sale to one of the charities dependent on the buyer’s preference. Based on donations, Fallon Ford-Toyota gave away $44,200 to 14 charities. In the program’s first year, the automobile dealership donated $20,900, and with this year’s presentation, Fallon Ford-Toyota has donated $287,850.
“We started with 20 organizations, but this year we have 14 to give more money to the groups,” Mitchell said.
Every year, Mitchell said Fallon Ford-Toyota will rotate several charities, but he said organizations that deal with senior citizens and the area’s youth such as 4-H and the Fallon Youth Club are in demand.
“DVI has a lot of supporters,” Mitchell added.
Mitchell said the Northern Nevada Ronald McDonald House and the Renown Children’s Miracle Network, which are both located in Reno, are the closest children’s hospitals to Fallon, and Fallon Ford-Toyota presented them with checks of $3,800 and $5,000, respectively.
“They are still the closest children hospital to us,” Mitchell said.
Lisa Erquiaga, director of the William N. Pennington Life Center, was also speechless when Mitchell informed her of a $6,050 donation.
“This money goes toward our Meals on Wheels program,” she said.
Since the new center opened in 2017, Erquiaga said 200 people receive a hot meal during each week day.
“This is really helpful and wonderful,” she said. “We hope it (Pay It Forward) continues because we have lots of people to feed.”
Mitchell assured her the Pay It Forward program will continue to donate money to charities during the holiday season.
“Our goal is to get to a million dollars,” he said.
Churchill County Museum Director Dan Ingram received a check for $2,000. He said the money will be used to continue the museum’s digitization of photographs and to buy needed equipment.
“We want to upgrade our exhibits in the Discovery Room,” he said.
Ingram said the amount of donations Fallon Ford-Toyota gives back to the community is astonishing.
For the first two months, Henning said the dealership will develop a list of organizations to which buyers will designate a charity of their choice from March through the first half of December.
Henning said Fallon Ford-Toyota will accept new applications, and interested groups should send a letter to Mitchell giving a background on the organization and why they have an interest in the program.
Finally, in an unexpected moment, the Churchill County High School Navy Junior ROTC thanked the longtime Nevada dealership with its own presentation.
Lt. Cmdr. Stephanie Theiros, commanding officer, and Lt. JG Hayden Hawk, the operations officer, presented Mitchell with a wood plaque.
“Presented to Fallon Ford-Toyota in recognition of your outstanding support of the Churchill County High School Navy Junior ROTC. Your support is greatly appreciated.”