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What if Santa drove a 64 Impala?
Although the 20-member group Dreams on Wheels often spends its weekends cruising in classic roadsters to car shows around the Northwest, it also has raised almost $100,000 in the last few years in gifts and food for the needy.
Started by Bremerton High alumni Tony Perry three years ago with several of his car-loving friends, the group chooses to take phone calls from people in need, then go door-to-door to businesses to receive funding to provide a donation.
On Dec. 20, Perry and his friends presented a brand-new bicycle and some toys from Wal-Mart to the Kolar family, who lost everything in a house fire on the night of Oct. 17.
They were ecstatic. They were filled with joy, said Stephanie Davis, who has participated with her husband Mark for close to two years in the Dreams group.
His eyeballs came out his head when he saw that truck, said Perry.
The friends got together a few years ago because they realized there were people who were not given adequate gifts during the holidays.
When Perry was to meet for an interview on Tuesday of this week, he was a few minutes late because he was giving out toys to kids at the Department of Social and Health Services in Bremerton.
Richard Schooley played Santa Claus for the kids for the second year in a row. Last year they were able to give presents to 16 kids, but this time they counted 40.
It is a joy and a thrill to see the kids smile, Schooley said. To feel that you are giving gifts to children that dont have anything. Its always been our goal to help the community.
Schooley retired from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in 1993. Perry was a varsity nose tackle for the West Bremerton Knights before he graduated in 1982, and worked ground maintenance in the shipyard after that as well.
Stephanie Davis has owned a day care business for 23 years. Her husband Mark is a rigger at Subase Bangor.
The group recently helped out when the South Kitsap Helpline Food bank had to throw away 800 holiday dinners, including hams and turkeys, after their freezer malfunctioned. Meals on wheels ran to the Bremerton Safeway to get 30 boxes of turkeys, and helped transport food back to Port Orchard.
Everybody came together and brought tons and tons of food, said Kim Schooley.
Perry said he wiped tears of joy from Jennifer Hardisons eyes, the executive director at Helpline.
We like to do things as a family, Davis said. We do picnics. One time when the group was having a picnic all the interest in their classic cars turned the meal into a genuine car show.
People come up to you and just ask you, she said.
Richard and Kim Schooley have a 1947 Plymouth Business Coupe. Mark and Stephanie have a 1956 Chevy.
Perry is in the process of purchasing a 1937 Ford Phantom.
One thing they all share in common is their compassion for those in need.
Some us didnt have the luxury of gifts (during the holidays), Perry said.
Where theres a miracle needed, well be there, added Kim Schooley.