by Bill Adam, photos by Pepe Delfino

The 2010 SAMA Rides N Smiles event, was once again held with the invaluable assistance of our partner, the Homestead Miami Speedway, and saw record attendance under clear skies. This year, we not only had patients from Baptist Memorial Hospital, but also from Miami Children’s Hospital and all were treated to the finest, and largest collection of “dream cars” that we’ve ever had. Gasps and “wows” were heard from not only the children but parents and even our own members. Vehicles were generously brought down by:

Chevrolet                  Corvette GS
Ford                         Shelby GT500
                               Taurus SHO
Chrysler                    Dodge Charger
                               Dodge Viper
Nissan                      370Z coupe
                               370Z roadster
Lexus                       Lexis ISF
Subaru                     WRX
Mazda                      MX5
Porsche                    GT3RS
Mercedes Benz          SLS AMG
Also brought down this year by good friends with huge hearts, were:
Corvette ZR1            Tom Gonzales
Ford GT                   Bill Scherer
Ferrari California       Ferrari Fort Lauderdale
Aston Martin DBS      Doug Van Allman
Ferrari California       Linda Van Allman
Porsche C4S            Manuel Reyes
Porsche race car       German Botero
In short, a stunning array of vehicles and all were kept immaculate by our friends with Prestige Auto.
On our annual day of giving something back to our world, two of our drivers really gave from the heart. Birthdays are usually “all about me” days, but Marcello Serrato and Tom Gonzales both chose to give, rather than take, and spent their entire day at the Homestead Miami Speedway putting smiles on faces. That, is the spirit that we can all admire!

The rides commenced shortly after 9:00 am and ran non stop for ALL cars until the lunch break, when food and drink was once again provided by the Speedway. At approximately 12:30, a brief thank you was given to all for coming down and then, almost 150 Publix bags full of goodies, were given away to the children. Also given out was a certificate with each child being named and welcomed to the Homestead Miami Speedway 100MPH Banking Club! A great idea, and based on the number of children I watched scanning them with pride, a huge success.

There are so many people to thank for this day, that it would take up pages. But a special “Thank You” to Chris Kavanaugh for again doing such an outstanding job of standing all day in pit lane organizing the riders going into the cars, the fellows from Prestige for their endless smiles and tireless attention to details, the selfless generosity of Kurt and Kate Ernst, down from Jacksonville and Jim Tucker all the way from Atlanta.

With tears of joy in the eyes of so many, and laughter the common denominator for the day, we all left knowing that we did indeed, give something special back to the world. As Bill Scherer put it, the glow that he left with last year stayed with him all the way until this year, and then it was polished again. Next year….even bigger and better!


Click on photo to view full size