By Allison Hester, from the Fall 2011 issue of Pressure Cleaning Contractor Magazine.
In July, members of the pressure washing community – led by Paul Kassander of the PowerWashStore.com,with the help of Kory Finley and Ron Musgraves of the National Cleaning Expo – turned what could have been a simple skid giveaway into something much more valuable – a chance of a lifetime for a terminally-ill child.
Numerous members of the power washing industry donated $100 or more to the Make-A-Wish Foundation drawing during NCE East in Tampa.
During the NCE East event in Tampa, Florida, $5,472 was raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has been giving children with life threatening medical conditions hope and strength by making their unique dreams come true.
“Make A Wish seemed like the perfect program. I have my own kids and can’t imagine what it would be like if my children were in the same situation as some of these other children,” says Paul. “Their stories are a reminder of why we’re all working to begin with – to take care of our families. If there’s something we can do to help bring a little joy into their lives, then that’s what is most important.”
While many industry events raffle off donated equipment, Paul said he wanted to try to do something more significant at NCE. “I thought if I donated a simple pressure washer – something that everyone can use – we would have the ability to raise more money for a charity than if I was to just donate a washer to the event. I was looking for a way for the industry as a whole to give back to the community.”
The skid donated was a cold water, 5.5 gpm, 2500 psi pressure washer with a Honda engine. The unit’s list price was $2500. Additionally, Kory Finley, who helped coordinate the NCE event, donated twin pump softwash cleaning system for the raffle. “That gave people other options since a lot of roof cleaners don’t use pressure washers,” Paul adds.
Prior to and during the NCE event, raffle tickets were sold by the hundreds. Time was also given to allow a Make-A-Wish representative to give a special presentation during the event itself. During the event’s opening night reception, Ron Musgraves (NCE, Pro Power Wash, Pressure Washing Institute), AC Lockyer (Softwash Systems) and Chris Tucker (Apple Roof Cleaning) all took their turns getting soaked in a dunk tank, raising funds for the charity.
“I was extremely pleased with the participation, and I was especially surprised at the amount of people who spent over $100,” Paul said. “I expected a lot more $10 or $20 donations, but several people gave $100 or more.”
Paul says he was also pleased with the number of people who bought tickets who had no interest in the equipment itself. For instance, Paul pointed out that his direct competitor, Russ Johnson of Southside Equipment, donated $100 to the event. “I think that was a real standup thing to do,” explains Paul. “It went beyond our head-to-head competition as distributors and we came together for a good cause.”
In the end, Pamela Starr, a presenter for Constant Contact, had the winning ticket. She then donated the machine back to auction off, which helped us raise another $1,000, the winning bid by Dave Muirhead of Sky View Window Cleaning. That, in turn, put the charitable event over the top, raising more than the amount needed to sponsor a child’s wish.
“It was a great feeling to see the outpouring of support from around the country. I think most did it more out of the kindness of their hearts more than anything,” Paul adds. “I hope we can continue to do these kinds of things every year. I would love more than anything to be able to donate a $2,000 to 3,000 pressure washer and get this type of support. Instead of just donating $5000 to Make a Wish, let’s turn it into $10,000 or more.”
Paul says he was not surprised by the generosity of those there. “As a whole, the power washing industry gives a lot back but just doesn’t get the attention they deserve because they do it in the shadows. They do it at night, when people aren’t around.”
He concludes that “things like this raffle help bring their generosity out in the open and let people know we are giving back. We need to get the word out that we are here and we want to help make our communities cleaner and protect the environment at the same time. The more awareness we can generate about what we do, the better businesses will be and the more professional our industry will become.”
As a final note, Paul wanted to be sure to thank Kory Finley and Ron Musgraves for giving him the opportunity to raise money for Make a Wish. “ I wouldn’t have been able to do it without NCE putting that platform out there for us, which allowed us to do something big.”