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Like the rest of the world, Barrett-Jackson was profoundly shocked and saddened by the tragic Oct. 1, 2017, shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured.
The tragedy hit very close to home for the Barrett-Jackson team, which was preparing for the 10th Annual Las Vegas Auction to be held just days later at “ground zero” where the horrific event took place.
“We had many friends in attendance at the concert, and were deeply saddened to learn the son of one of our valued customers tragically lost his life,” remembers Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson. “There were no words to express our sorrow as we all tried to cope with what happened. Like many around the country, our focus immediately turned to what we could do to help.”
Immediately after the shooting took place, a number of funds were established to help the victims – most notably the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, which collected more than $31.4 million. Knowing the victims were already being assisted in a big way made Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis, once a police officer himself, turn his thoughts to the first responders. “First responders, in my opinion, are almost taken for granted in many cases,” he says. “Based on the magnitude and scope of the tragedy, there were many acts of bravery by the first responders – from police, fire, EMTs, security staff, hospital personnel, even counselors – that went unheralded.”
Davis and his wife Janie discussed what could be done, and decided to donate their personal 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake – a rare 40th Anniversary Edition and the 11th manufactured that year – to be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas event, with 100% of the sale price going to the city’s first responders through the Injured Police Officers Fund (IPOF). The sale ended up being one of the biggest – and most emotional – moments in the nearly 50-year history of Barrett-Jackson when DC Solar, led by COO Paulette Carpoff and President/CEO Jeff Carpoff, had the winning bid of $1 million.
The IPOF graciously stepped forward and offered to manage the funds, which Davis wanted to make sure went to a wide variety of deserving organizations throughout the Las Vegas community. “I believe it was unprecedented to select one charity to be the overseer and distribution hub,” says Davis. “The IPOF formed a committee and did a comprehensive analysis, and distributed the money in a way that positively impacted the community at large, which is very, very satisfying.
“We spent six months selecting worthy organizations as the recipients of this generous and much-appreciated donation,” said Lieutenant Erik Lloyd, President of the IPOF. “There are so many deserving first responder organizations, and we made every effort to donate to those in our community that are on the front lines of law enforcement, rescue and safety in Nevada.” One-half of the funds from the sale was distributed to local firefighters, trauma personnel, EMTs and security officers; the remainder will be used by the IPOF for future distribution to the families of officers injured or killed in the line of duty.
In all, 27 organizations were awarded a grant by the IPOF, using the funds from the sale of the Super Snake, a fact of which the folks at DC Solar are understandably proud. “Although working with first responders is part of our daily business at DC Solar, as members of the Las Vegas community, it is also very personal work for us,” says Paulette Carpoff. “Jeff and I are incredibly humbled to have played a role in the distribution of grants to so many Las Vegas organization, all of which perform invaluable services that we simply could not do without.”
The Super Snake was not the only car from the 2017 Las Vegas Auction that went on to help others affected by the tragedy. NASCAR Foundation Chairman Mike Helton stepped up and donated his 2016 Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Edition – one of less than 50 special-edition Wranglers built by Jeep – to benefit the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine Residency Program Fund. With Helton and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace onstage, the rare Jeep crossed the block and raised $100,000.
“The money will make a significant difference for medical students,” said Dr. Dale Carrison, chair of emergency medicine at the UNLV School of Medicine. “These gifts will help us offer outstanding training to physicians who are specializing in emergency medicine, many of whom were involved in caring for patients during the tragedy in Las Vegas.”
Now, a year later, it’s a time to look back, remember and reflect – but not forget. “I’d like to think that we as a team – and me, individually, donating something that was very close to my heart – helped spur the healing process,” says Davis. “We helped turn the corner. We’ll never forget the horrific tragedy that took place, but we will stand strong with the community of Las Vegas, which we feel we’re a part of, and help build a future that makes us stronger going forward.”
Jackson agrees, adding, “Our country will always be resilient, and we knew the collector car community would join together with Barrett-Jackson at our auction to help at that very difficult time. We can never do enough to thank and honor those who serve our country and the first responders who risk their lives to save others during these awful events.”