Autocar Opens its Doors to "Make A Wish"

HAGERSTOWN, Ind., Feb. 11, 2014 - Few lives go untouched by childhood cancer. The sad reality is that most of us know someone who has suffered with the uncertainty of illness – but every now and then, you get a chance to make a difference.

In December, a story was featured on the radio about a little boy who had battled with brain tumors and was now being granted a wish through the Make A Wish Foundation. A huge fan of cars and trucks, three-year-old Jackson Smith's wish was to go to Disney Land and visit Radiator Springs – home of Disney's beloved Cars.

Autocar employee Cory Roberson heard Jackson's story and knew that there was something he could do.

Along with the help of Doug Groff, Ed Steyn, Beth Jepson, Jessica Growden, and Bill Swartz, Roberson organized a plant tour party for Jackson, parents Jason and Allison, and little sister Charlie. The Smith family visited Autocar along with their Make A Wish coordinators, Betsy Voth and Tom Harris.

The group took a tour of the factory where the trucks are assembled and then Jackson got to do something he'd only experienced in his playful imagination: he drove a refuse truck. With the help of Groff and his dad, Jackson learned how to operate the arms and compactor on the truck and then took it for a spin around the block. He also received a scale model of the truck and truck-themed cupcakes.

Roberson and his co-workers watched the smiling family depart and agreed that it was a good way to spend a brisk Saturday morning.

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. To help spread awareness, the Smith family will be hosting a car show – aptly named "Jalopies for Jackson" – on May 17th at the Lewisville Park. Proceeds will benefit Kids R Golden, which provides support for Henry County families coping with childhood cancer, and The St. Baldrick's Foundation to fund research on childhood cancers. The event starts at 11:00 AM and features prizes, an auction, and a blood drive hosted by the Indiana Blood Center. For more information, call Jason Smith at (765) 571-0544.