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Road Rally for Hope Children's Home

Road Rally for Hope Children's Home

Tampa Bay
Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 10:00am

For over 45 years Hope Children’s Home in Tampa Florida has rescued nearly 5,000 abandoned, abused, neglected and orphaned children from around the world. On their 55-acre campus of both dormitories and family cottages, their goal is to point each and every child towards Christ, provide them with a loving environment and equip them with an exceptional education. Hope is unique in that they have never received state or federal funding but have relied on God to provide through churches, individuals, organizations and businesses. Log onto hopechildrenshome.org and see if maybe you would like to help them with the financial help that they always need.

On the morning of Saturday April 30, 15 cars lined up at Lokey Motorcars Mercedes-Benz dealer in Clearwater for an approximate two hour 51.4 mile road rally. The contestants where sent out in four minute intervals to follow instruction sheets that led them through 30 route changes and gave them 31 clues to find answers along the route that could be found on signs, buildings, street signs mailboxes, yards and other like areas. The rally master (me) made a BIG error by having a “turn right” were it should have been “turn left”. The teams detected the error in a little over a mile and made the appropriate course correction saving me more embarrassment than I already was suffering.

The rally ended at Hope Children’s Home where the contestants were treated to tours of the living quarters and education center by staff. Most of the staff that works at Hope live at Hope and are the “house parents” for the dormitories and cottages. The cottages, when possible, house family groups of children so that they can stay together.  If the children remain at Hope, and the family is not able to be re-united. At 18, they are ready for college or a trade school. After furthering their education some return to Hope to be Staff.

Following the tour, we were treated to a great lunch donated and catered by a local Smokey Bones Restaurant of 8020 Citrus Park Dr., Tampa. Serving were managers Vicki Morales and Rob Klinge. This was made possible by generosity of Gen. Mgr. Quinton Stephens. Please make it a point to stop in and say Hi!

After lunch trophies were awarded to the top three teams. These trophies were donated and produced by Bayshore Trophy of Clearwater, who by the way, produces all of the MBCA National trophies for the Member, Officer and Section of the Year and Public Service awards.

Winners of the Road Rally:

First Place:

Navigator Nancy Pease & Driver John Thomas in a 2004 E320

Second Place:

Navigator Lynn Hutchinson & Driver Dave Hutchinson in a 1999 300 turbo diesel

Third Place:

Navigator Pat Watson & Driver Greg Watson


A special note to my old MB friend from Michigan Bill Sgro and his 11 &12 year old daughters Liz & Gabriella who came up from Sarasota to do the rally.

A very special thanks goes out to two of our local Mercedes-Benz Dealerships. Crown Eurocars of St. Petersburg and Lokey Motorcars of Clearwater both donated $250 each to Hope Children’s Home. All of the entry fees and dealer donations went directly to Hope and they were presented with checks totaling $1,125.00. The dealers also will be presented Thank You Plaques for their generous support.

A huge thanks to Stan Pittman from Hope, Lokey & Crown MB dealers, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, Bayshore Trophy, and the Ralliers. Also to Mary Ellen Ames and Betty Hendrix who helped me tally the score sheets at the end. It takes a lot of people to make everything work.

Rallymaster, Scott O. Suits

Photos by: Dave Hutchinson