It’s impossible to look into the face of Maci Winebarger and not want to help her. Rick Dudding, founder of Wheels-4-Kids, certainly feels that way. “I have to help Maci because I know what having a head injury feels like,” he said.
On Saturday, April 14, at The Tractor Supply in Covington, Dudding will be hosting a Benefit Cruise-In for Winebarger. It will start at 3 p.m. and last for about four hours. “I want people to be able to get off of work and enjoy a few hours with their buddies that enjoy sharing their vehicles and helping someone in need,” he added.
When he was younger, Rick’s dream was to drive 18-wheelers. He could draw them with vivid details. “That’s just what I wanted to do ever since I can remember,” he said. “So, I went to college and got my degree and started driving.”
Little did he know that one day he would be hit by a drunk driver which would dramatically impact his life. Rick remembers like it was yesterday. He was driving a truck when a drunk driver came around a turn and hit him on the side of his vehicle. The wheel broke off and the truck jack-knifed into the bank where his seatbelt broke. Severely injured, Rick had to be air-lifted to the Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
He was later admitted to a Hollins Head Injury Clinic where he regained his functions.
“I am better than I was, but I suffer every day,” Dudding shared. “When I see someone like little Maci, who was once an active girl, able to talk and walk like any regular kid but can’t now, it hurts me.”
Rick is also hosting the Cruise-In to help Maci’s family cover the medical bills they will inevitably continue to receive.
Last September, he hosted a car show for Maci at the Salem Civic Center. Maci, unfortunately, had a wedding to attend that day and had to arrive late. Rick promised Maci that he would have another one for her. Maci is ecstatic that she will be able to attend the entire event this time around.
“I feel honored, and I am excited to see all the people and cars,” Maci shared. “Thank everyone for doing this for me.”
Rick says he is still in need of baked goods, homemade or handmade and items which he will auction off at the show. “We are hoping for a good turnout,” he exclaimed. “I know that Covington is a little ways off, but they offered the area for free and I was able to obtain a DJ to provide music.”
K&W Petros will be providing food and drinks on the premises and Donald Wood, with Purple Butterfly Entertainment, will fill the atmosphere with lots of great music and helping with the auctions.
Hosting a benefit takes lots of hours in asking for help, obtaining donations, organizing the entire evening, as well as setting up and taking down the day of the event.
All proceeds will be given directly to Maci and her family. Checks can be written to Maci or Shari Winebarger.
There will also be a 50/50 drawing for additional items to be sold. They include: several buckets of car care items, a special Dura Gloss kit, tools, knives, clothing items, hats, female luxuries, food gift certificates and oil and filter changes.
For more information, contact Rick Dudding (540) 330-2234 or Betty Dudding 312-9678. “We hope to help Maci and her family with the money we raise Saturday, as well as give her a smile on that day,” Dudding said.