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If there’s one thing Gary Scelzi knows, it’s cars, and the four-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) champion is sharing his automobile expertise and a bit of his racing history at this year’s Belmont Concours d’Eleganza – a car and motorcycle show and competition in Fresno.
On June 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the event will bring classic automobiles to the fairways of Belmont Country Club for the second year in a row to benefit Terry’s House – a convenient lodging facility for families whose loved ones are receiving critical care at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.
Scelzi donated a replica of his racing helmet for the event’s silent auction. All proceeds from the helmet and other items will be gifted to Community Medical Foundation in support of Terry’s House. Lynn Bennink, Community Regional’s director of trauma and Terry’s House said the facility will provide a caring, supportive environment where families who are far from home can stay while their loved ones receive medical care.
“We believe caring goes beyond medical procedures and high-tech equipment. True healing encompasses the love and support of the entire family,” Bennink said.
Terry’s House will be a 17,000-square-foot, two-story home within walking distance of the main entrance of Community Regional, on the corner of Fresno and R streets. It will feature 20 guest rooms with private baths and in-room refrigerators, plus activity lounge and sitting areas, a kitchen, dining and gathering areas, a family resource center, children’s activity room, exercise room, guest laundry facility, reflection room and an outdoor healing garden.
Between 150 to 200 collector cars are expected at the Concours d’Eleganza. Featured makes include Porsche and a tribute to Pontiac. Other vehicles include American cars of the 1920s and 1930s, classics from the 1940s and 1950s, muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s and classic European cars such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley and Jaguar.
“We’ll have cars dating as far back as 1906,” said Ron Von Tersch, event co-director. “We also are going to have a display of one-of–a-kind cars.”
Vehicle judging at the Concours d’Eleganza will begin at 10:30 a.m. with trophy presentation at 2 p.m. Scelzi has been named an honorary judge for the show.
“I’m really excited. This is the first time I’ve ever been a judge for anything,” said the racing champion. As a judge, Scelzi plans to take into account each vehicle’s fit, finish, neatness and presentation.
In addition to the classic cars, guests at the Concours also can check out vintage motorcycles, meet special guest Jim Wanger, the “Godfather of the GTO,” enjoy live music, food and beverages, and take part in the silent auction.
“Terry’s House is such a worthwhile cause. I hope our whole community gets behind it,” Von Tersch said.
The construction and maintenance of Terry’s House is entirely dependent upon private gifts and contributions. The project’s financing began with generous gifts from Tom Richards and Bank of America. Richards’ brother, Terry, is the namesake behind Terry’s House. Terry was seriously injured in a car accident when he was 5 years old and his mother drove 80 miles a day for five months to be with her son while he recovered.
Community Medical Foundation has successfully raised the funds needed to begin construction and is seeking additional funds to complete, sustain and furnish the home.
Scelzi said it just made sense for him to get involved with the building of Terry’s House.
“This is a great town. I have always been proud to be from Fresno, and I was shocked that we did not have a place like Terry’s House,” Scelzi said. “How could I not help but jump in with both feet?”
Tickets to the Belmont Concours d’Eleganza are $20 per person in advance and $25 at the gate. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Belmont Country Club is located at 8253 E. Belmont Ave. in Fresno.