It’s a little grim when your home town makes No. 4 in a national magazine’s ‘most dangerous city’ list, especially the week before Christmas.
Those of us that were born and raised in this city get a little angry and embarrassed with that label, and the Yuletide season is a pretty poor launch pad for this kind of list.
That is why some of our summer car guy buddies can spin things around in a hurry with their annual Christmas party. The event is hosted by Trevor Comfort at his car restoration shop and it is one of the best ways to rekindle the feeling that our city is still something very special because of its good people.
The evening is a gathering of car guys in Trevor’s shop where the work of the day (including a 1955 Chevy convertible project and a ’67 Beaumont) get moved from centre stage in his work area. It is transformed into a dining area with a long row of homemade entrees.
There is plenty of room to mix and mingle with a host of car guys and girls, some of whom have their roots in the famous Igniters hot rod club from the 1950s.
The event took place on a Thursday, an appropriate day for local car guys who gather every week on warm summer Thursday nights at the mall with their vintage iron.
It is always a pleasure to see these guys — even if they look a lot different without their vehicles in the middle of winter. I have stated on many occasions that it is almost impossible to find anything but good vibrations (that are even better than the Beach Boys version) at a car show.
The same positive impression is easily found at the Comfort Collision Christmas party because it is not just about a great home-cooked buffet of magnificent proportions. It is also about giving something back to this community.
One of the focal points of the evening is a custom fridge that looks exactly like a vintage Coke machine from the ’50s. The fridge is actually a working fridge from the ’50s that is purchased by Trevor and custom painted into a red and white pop culture icon by Trevor in his shop. Talented pin striper Dave Heykants added an extra flair to the fridge.
Trevor donates his money, time and talents to the transformation and the custom paint fridge becomes a centrepiece in the shop party celebration every Christmas. It is raffled off and all of the proceeds go directly to the Red Deer Food Bank.
But the story does not end with the winner in this raffle. Recent tradition has the winners turning back the prized fridge to Trevor so that it can then be sold to the highest bidder. Bear in mind that any car guy would be thrilled to have one of these fridges in his garage or shop.
However the point of the evening is to raise money for the food bank, so it is given back by the winner with no hesitation because of the greater cause.
The extra wrinkle this year was another custom Coke fridge from Trevor, also sold to the highest bidder. One of the two fridges was actually sold twice that night to raise more money. Car guys are just like that when it comes to generosity.
The net result was over $5,400 that went directly to our food bank at a critical time of the year, considerably more than double last year’s total. All of which brings me back to my point: Red Deer is still a great place to live and unsung heroes like our local car guys make this city and Christmas something very special.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Jim Sutherland is a local freelance columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.