Local sponsors make Make-A-Wish benefit CD possibleWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Choate, plant manager of GM Powertrain Toledo, knows the pain of losing a child, while Art McCormick, president of A&D Glass & Mirror in Perrysburg, is thankful for his family’s continued health.
Both men’s companies provided financial support to “Holiday Wishes 2,” a Make-A-Wish benefit CD organized for the second year by Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller.
Also supporting the CD were UAW Local 14, WNWO, 101.5 The River, Levis Commons and Panera Bread.
GM Powertrain Toledo, UAW Local 14 and Panera Bread also sponsored last year’s inaugural benefit CD, a 25-track compilation that raised more than $25,000 for Make-A-Wish.
This year’s two-disc package features 44 tracks contributed by local artists. CDs are available for $15 at area Panera Bread stores and select Levis Commons locations. Digital downloads are also available.
Because of the local sponsorship, all proceeds will go directly to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to help grant wishes for Northwest Ohio children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Make-A-Wish does not receive federal, state or local government funding. Wishes are paid for by donations and donations-in-kind. The average cost of a wish is $8,000.
The mission of Make-A-Wish is especially meaningful to Choate, whose 12-year-old son, Matthew, died of a congenital heart defect in 1989.
Although his son was not involved with Make-A-Wish, Choate later served on the organization’s regional board for several years.
“I know what it’s like to have a very sick child,” Choate said. “I found out about Make-A-Wish way back when. [Matthew] never received a wish, but I was always really curious about what they did and how they did it. When I was transferred to Toledo, I was asked to serve on the board.”
Choate heard about the 2011 “Holiday Wishes” CD project from Eric Slough, former executive director of Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, Northwest Ohio Regional Office.
“Eric was telling me about this idea [for the CD] and expressed the need to find someone to fund some of the costs and we jumped on it from year one,” Choate said. “We wanted to help give people an awareness of what Make-A-Wish is all about and what they do for families and to promote the mission itself. That’s why we’re involved in it. We’re looking for Make-A-Wish to be successful at granting wishes. We’re not looking for it to sell an extra car. We did it to help out Make-A-Wish.”
GM Powertrain Toledo has a community relations board that regularly allocates funds to help support local charities and community organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, the NAACP and more.
“We’ve been active in the community in a lot of different ways. We stick pretty well to the needs of the community,” Choate said.
“A lot of people in the Toledo area affiliate Toledo with being a Chrysler-Jeep town. We like to get the General Motors name out there too, and make sure people understand we’re a big part of the community as well. The CDs are great. They make nice Christmas gifts. It’s just a unique idea and it’s nice to be able to be associated with that.”
McCormick, whose daughter Ally McCormick is vice president of A&D Glass & Mirror, recently attended a Make-A-Wish fundraiser, where he learned more about the organization and wanted to support it.
“My daughter is partner with me in this company and I just feel very fortunate to have a successful business and a healthy daughter,” McCormick said. “I feel very lucky from the standpoint of having succeeded during the tough times of this economy and am still able to give back. We’re very fortunate.”
McCormick, a Toledo native who has been a Toledo area business owner since 1990, founded A&D Glass & Mirror in 2006. He said he tries to support local nonprofits and organizations, including the YMCA and the Sisters of Notre Dame, whenever possible.
“The opportunity to help arose and Make-A-Wish just seemed to fit into the realm of what we were doing and fit well with me,” McCormick said. “Michael [Miller] was telling me how they do so well with the CDs and being part of that was just a great opportunity for us. Our supporting role is really small compared to others involved, but we’re fortunate to be able to help out where we can. Make-A-Wish is a great organization, it really is. I think it’s very important as a business owner in Northwest Ohio to give back. I try to do everything locally and to give back to my local community.
“It’s a great CD,” McCormick said. “It’s very diverse. It pulls in local talent, which is really great, and again it goes back to the community. That’s what it’s all about, our community. I think as you get older you realize that. Helping each other is the only way you make it through life. We’re very fortunate and lucky to be able to give back.”