Corvette club's show raises money for 1st Cav and 4th ID memorials

Posted on: Sunday, October 12, 2008, 5:26 AM
By Hayley Kappes
Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE, TX Local Corvette aficionados showed off their wheels for a good cause Saturday afternoon at City Park.

Hosted by the Mid Texas Corvette Club, money raised from the show benefited the 1st Cavalry Division's and 4th Infantry Division's memorials on Fort Hood.

The club selects a charity to donate to annually and chose to support the two units because several members are retired military, said Harald Weldon, club president.

"We don't want these people to be forgotten," Weldon said. "We're soldiers, too, and we didn't want this cause to be left out."

Spectators could vote on their favorite car in different classes. The show was not restricted to Corvettes and also featured Chevrolet Camaros, Ford trucks, a BMW motorcycle and Jaguars.

Weldon, owner of a 1993 Corvette, said owning the American muscle car can be addictive.

"They're really neat cars. They all seem to have that Americana personality," he said. "They're a little bit noisier. They make you feel like you're connected with the road. There's so much power in the engine. It's like sitting in the cockpit of an airplane."

People later in life get into Corvettes because they're not good family cars and they're expensive, Weldon said.

"Driving in a Corvette is like going in a time machine," he said. "It reminds me of when I was young. I still get a kick out of driving my wife around in it."

Corvette club members go through meticulous detail to keep the automobiles looking spotless.

Susan Denham had her 1979 Corvette remodeled to suit her tastes, with a purple and gray color scheme and detailing throughout. She also had a softer suspension customized to support her back better.

Denham's car has the classic look of an older Corvette but with modern amenities, she said. Denham had the gas mileage improved, so her Corvette gets 28 miles per gallon.

"People come up and ask to have their picture taken while sitting behind the wheel of my car," Denham said. "I love driving a Corvette. Period."

The show featured more than 60 classic and modern automobiles. Admission was free, but donations were accepted. Weldon's goal was to raise $1,000 for the units' memorial funds.

Kerri Hartwick's husband, an Apache pilot from the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, was killed after his plane was shot down in Iraq more than a year ago.

She was overcome by the support shown for the memorial at Saturday's show. Hartwick's parents came in from Missouri to attend. Once you've been in the military for 14 years, it's difficult to walk away from the life, she said.

"I think it's great to have the community support. The only way to get funding for these memorials is to generate funds from the community," Hartwick said. "If these guys didn't step up to the plate, there wouldn't be a memorial on post to honor all the soldiers."

Contact Hayley Kappes at hayleyk@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559.