Dealership spreads holiday cheer |

Dealership spreads holiday cheer

Steve Ranson
General Manager Tim Mitchell, left, of Fallon Auto Mall, writes a check for one a group that is receiving a donation from the firm's Pay It Forward program. Looking on is salesman Joses Hall.

Karen Bogdanowicz ensured her youngsters from the Churchill County 4-H program were standing straight and looking at the camera. After the photograph was taken, she let out a sigh, but the sparkle in her eyes remained.

“I’m really excited,” she said as 30 children dispersed from their rows. “Fallon Auto Mall always does a great job in supporting 4-H and the community. We have over 300 kids in 4-H.”

As the county’s 4-H director, Bogdanowicz had a reason for her enthusiasm because the youth program received a check for $1,450 from the auto dealer’s annual Pay It Forward campaign, in which $50 from each car sale — new or pre-owned— goes to the area’s nonprofit organizations based on the buyer’s choice.

“The money will be used for scholarships for the kids like to the 4-H camps, workshops and competitions,” she pointed out.

One of the parents, Diana Paul, said the Pay It Forward program is a great way for Fallon Auto Mall to give back to the community.

“They have been here for a long time,” she added.

General Manager Tim Mitchell said this year’s program generated $28,750.

“We choose 20 organizations in the community at the beginning of the year,” explained Mitchell when discussing the set up, “and then a committee gets together to chose the organizations. We have quite a few repeats, but we add new ones every year.”

When an organization submits an application, Mitchell said the committee wants to know how the money will be spent.

Organizations include animal rescue, military, Grad Nite, the Churchill County Museum and Search and Rescue.

Since co-owner Chris Hening came up with the idea four years ago, Fallon Auto Mall has given away $106,550 to scores of organizations.

“Chris’ idea was he wanted to come up with a program to give back to the community,” Mitchell said. “We’re very happy to break $100,000 this year.”

Both Sharon Peters, a board member for the Churchill Animal Protection Society (CAPS) and Michele Ippilito, a board member for the Fallon Animal Welfare Group (FAWG), split the $3,950 that was donated to animal rescue.

“This will help our animals,” Peters said, adding that the board will earmark the money for specific projects, specifically animal welfare.

Likewise, FAWG intends to use the money for animal welfare, but according to Ippilito, the no kill organization would like to use the money to reduce the number of feral cats going into the city’s animal shelter by neutering them to cut down on unwanted litters.

“We can’t thank them enough,” Ippilito said.

Domestic Violence Intervention was awarded $2,000.

“This is a wonderful program,” said Gaylene Drinkut, president of the DVI board.

Director Karen Moessner said this is the second year DVI has received a donation from Fallon Auto Mall. Money will go toward individual client needs such as filling a gas tank or obtaining a medical prescription.

“We really feel good about them picking DVI,” Moessner said.