Car raffle nets $50,000 for School of Osteopathic Medicine

DUNN – When Gardner Altman, an attorney from White Oak, decided to donate his 1964 Corvette for a raffle to benefit the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, he hoped that the raffle would raise awareness for the school and be a blessing for the winner of the car. Both happened.

First, 500 raffle tickets, at a cost of $100 each, were sold to individuals in Harnett and surrounding counties, leading to $50,000 being raised to support Campbell’s medical school, which will welcome its first class of students in the fall of 2013.

And second, the winner of the raffle was John Dees of Raeford. Dees’ son Aaron was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscular weakness and gradually worsens over time. Many people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy don’t live into their twenties, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Osteopathic doctors were among those who cared for Aaron, who lived to see his 18th birthday.

“It is a blessing to have won this car, and it means so much to me because of the cause that the raffle supported,” said Dees, a massage therapist and program director at Miller-Motte College who had bought one raffle ticket.

Altman added: “I’m ecstatic that John won the car. It really seems to have come full circle.”

A fan of classic cars, Altman bought the 1964 red Corvette about a decade ago. He owned three other classic cars like it, one for each of his four grandsons. But the cars just sat there for years. He talked to his grandsons about what he should do with the cars. They suggested he donate them to a good cause. 

Altman thought about selling the 1964 Corvette and donating the profit to Campbell’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. But the more he thought about it, the more he thought he could help raise awareness for the new school through a raffle. He teamed with Bobby Bleecker Chevrolet and New Century Bank to organize it. “It really was a community effort,” said Altman, a member of the medical school’s founding committee who was also on the founding committee for the Campbell Law School.

The winning ticket was randomly drawn during the Cotton Festival of Dunn on Nov. 3. A $50,000 check, representing the proceeds from the raffle, was presented to Campbell President Jerry Wallace at Bobby Bleecker Chevrolet of Dunn on Monday, Nov. 19, when Wallace also gave Dees the keys to his new car.

“It was the most unique thing that has been done [to benefit] the medical school,” Wallace said during the check presentation ceremony, adding that construction on the medical school is more than two-thirds complete. “Gardner has found another way to support Campbell . . .  and we’re very grateful.”

As for Dees, he said he’ll take the Corvette out of the garage every once in a while to drive it in a parade or along the coast. “I didn’t expect this,” Dees said. “I feel very blessed.”

Photo caption: Campbell President Jerry Wallace presents John Dees with the keys to the 1964 Corvette he won in a raffle, which raised $50,000 for the School of Osteopathic Medicine. Gardner Altman, left of Wallace, donated the car for the raffle. 

Article by Cherry Crayton, digital content coordinator