By Larry Edsall
Thursday Lot #3000 -
Crossing the block at approximately 2:00 p.m.
2012 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY
GT500 “SUPER SNAKE” 2 DOOR COUPE
Among the cars scheduled to roll across the block at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas is a red-white-and-blue bedecked 2012 Ford Mustang GT500 Shelby “Super Snake.” The car comes with some mileage on its odometer as well as the signatures of hundreds of people who support its mission — and also with the hopes of the dozens more who will benefit from that mission — the Wounded Warriors Family Support charity.
This car’s specific mission was to complete the third annual High Five Tour, a cross-country drive to raise awareness and money for American military personnel wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and for their families, and then to cross the block at Barrett-Jackson to raise yet more money for the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization.
The hope for the auction here is to duplicate — or even exceed — the success of this car’s predecessor, the 2011 Mustang that did the High Five Tour in 2011. That car generated a million dollars for Wounded Warriors Family Support at the Barrett-Jackson auction last year at Palm Beach, Fla., where it was sold and then re-donated so it could be sold a second time, in effect doubling the money raised for the family support effort.
“I’m confident that with Steve Davis and Gary Bennett and Craig Jackson on the stage, and with the positive influence and the enthusiasm they have, we will replicate what happened last year,” said Col. John Folsom, USMCR (Retired), the founder of the Wounded Warriors Family Support effort.
“I have traveled the country on the 2012 High Five Tour with yet another “Super Snake” Mustang, a car to be auctioned at a Barrett-Jackson event next year and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve heard from hundreds of people who tell me they saw our 2011 car sold at Palm Beach and were moved to tears, emotionally moved by the scene they saw.”
That scene may well be eclipsed this year as Barrett-Jackson stages a special “Salute to the Military, inviting some 75 active-duty personnel and their families from Nellis Air Force Base plus the special appearance by country music star Clay Walker and the sale of the Wounded Warriors Family Support Mustang.
It is not at all unusual for Barrett-Jackson to sell vehicles that benefit charities that support military personnel, veterans and their families. For example, the 1993 Hummer H1 “CNN Warrior One” brought in a million dollars at Scottsdale in 2007. So did a customized 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 at Scottsdale in 2012. As a matter of fact, the same car had been sold to benefit a military charity a year earlier at the Las Vegas auction and raised $700,000 at that time. And earlier this year, at Palm Beach, President George W. Bush’s Ford F-150 King Ranch pickup truck generated $350,000 for the National Guard Youth Foundation. To date, Barrett-Jackson has shown its support by raising more than $7.5 million for service members and their families from the sales of nearly three dozen vehicles.
But with visitors from the nearby air base and the special musical presentation by Walker, who will sing “All America” from his “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” album, the military salute at Las Vegas figures to be extraordinary as it sets the stage for the sale of the High Five Tour Mustang.
Money generated by the sale of the 2011 High Five Tour Mustang was used:
-— To help build three “smart” homes — one for an Army staff sergeant who lost both arms and both legs in Afghanistan; one for a Marine sergeant who suffered a traumatic brain injury, burns over 90 percent of his body and lost both legs and an arm, also in Afghanistan; another for a Marine corporal paralyzed by a sniper in Afghanistan;
-— To launch the Wounded Warriors Family Support’s new Caregiver Respite Program to give support and assistance to caregivers of combat-wounded veterans.
Col. Folsom said for the most part “these soldiers are young men. They get married and they’re married to women who are young as well and who now in some cases are faced with a lifetime of giving care. She’s a young woman in her ‘20s, and she’s affected emotionally and spiritually because the big, strapping young man she married is no longer in that condition and she must care for him. And it can be 24 hours, 7 days a week she has to be there. She has been thrown into an emotional tailspin, and someone needs to look after her.”
Col. Folsom said the VA (Veterans Administration) is doing a pretty good job at helping care for the caregivers. “But the VA can’t do everything,” he said, citing just one example from the more than 200 families helped so far:
“We had a situation in which a woman who was her husband’s primary caregiver was pregnant with another child and she had to go to the hospital,” he said, explaining that her absence would leave not only her husband but also their other two children without someone to look after them.
“We stepped in,” Col. Folsom said. “We can react very quickly.”
Col. Folsom said all proceeds from the sale of the 2012 High Five Tour Mustang are earmarked for the respite care program.
And to make sure those proceeds are as generous as possible, John Luft, president of Las Vegas-based Shelby American, made sure this 2012 Mustang GT500 would be a very special one, Col. Folsom said. When the car was built — and knowing it eventually would cross the block at Barrett-Jackson — Luft donated and had his staff install a complete Super Snake highest-performance package on the 2012 High Five Tour car.
Not only did that addition make the car more fun to drive as it toured the country, but it also makes it even more desirable when it comes time for Barrett-Jackson and its generous bidders to create yet another memorable moment when the car crosses the block.
“What Barrett-Jackson does for us is a contribution that is difficult to measure directly,” the colonel said. “They are first class. To be associated with Barrett-Jackson is a wonderful thing.”