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Driven for a cause

Nicole McGregor, inventory and marketing manager for Ville Platte Dodge, is pictured here banging the “Gong for Charity.” Each time a customer buys a vehicle and bangs the gong, the dealership will make a donation to either the Ville Platte Boys and Girls Club or CASA of St. Landry-Evangeline, Inc. (Gazette photo by Tony Marks)

Local dealership prepares for charity event to raise funds for the VPBGC and CASA

Associate Editor

A Ville Platte business is having a special sales event to benefit local charities that will feature a live Zydeco band and prize giveaways.
Ville Platte Dodge is hosting a “Community Appreciation Red Tag Sales Event” on June 10, 2017, to benefit the Ville Platte Boys and Girls Club and CASA of St. Landry-Evangeline, Inc.
“We just want to show our continuing support for the community and the people in Ville Platte who have helped make us as successful as we are,” said Sales Manager Rick Villejoin. “We just want to show the appreciation back to the community through these two organizations that also benefit.”
“Our youth needs a lot of help,” Nicole McGregor said about why it is important to hold such an event. McGregor is the inventory and sales manager for the dealership. “It’s extremely important because (these organizations) take our youth off the streets and give them something productive to do instead of resorting to drugs and crime.”
Jennifer Vidrine, the mayor of Ville Platte, lent her support for the efforts. “With all my heart and with resounding enthusiasm, I’m so grateful to Ville Platte Dodge for supporting our Boys and Girls Club,” she exclaimed. “It’s so wonderful that a local business is investing in our sha babies and in our community! I am asking all our citizens to please go and support their event.”
Echoing the mayor’s sentiments is the director of the city’s Boys and Girls Club, Dianna Johnson. “We are challenging the community to support the event and have the opportunity to donate to the Ville Platte Boys and Girls Club and change the future of our youth,” she said.
According to McGregor, even though the event itself is scheduled for June 10, customers who go in before can still take advantage of some of the items being offered.
“From now until June 10 for everyone who comes in and hits ‘The Gong for Charity,’ we will make a donation in their name to the charity of their choice,” she said. “Every time we sell a vehicle, we have the customer hit the gong live on Facebook. We’re trying to use it to raise some money.”
Customers who go in before the event can also register for the prize giveaways as well. “When they come in, they can also register for prizes,” McGregor said. “We’re giving away three big screen TVs, a crawfish boiler, and three oil changes within one year.”
Many different things are scheduled on the day of the event. Live entertainment will be offered from a live Zydeco band with Gerard Delafosse and the Zydeco Gators. According to McGregor, “he is Geno Delafosse’s nephew.”
Other live entertainment will be radio remotes. “We’ll have two live remotes that day from two different radio stations KBON 101.1 and Z105.9,” said McGregor.
Law enforcement personnel will also be on hand to stress the importance of children’s safety. “Captain Shawn Duplechin will be here from the Ville Platte Police Department to do fingerprinting for young children,” McGregor said. “They’ll have it on record in case, God forbid, any child comes up missing or gets kidnapped.”
“We may have the State Police here to do demonstrations on proper car seats,” she continued. “It’s very important because a lot of mothers just don’t know how to do it properly.”
The main thing on the schedule in association with the event is the sales being offered benefiting the local charities. “It’s a serious sale,” McGregor stated. “New 2016 Ram trucks are $13,000.00 off, 2017 Jeep Cherokees are $5,000.00 off, and brand new 2016 Renogades are $7,000.00 off.”
On top of the flat donations to the Boys and Girls Club and CASA, the dealership will make a donation every time a customer buys a vehicle. “For every vehicle we sell that day, we will make a donation in each customer’s name to the charity of their choice out of the two charities,” McGregor said.
No purchase is necessary on the day of the event. Customers can pre-register on the Website at and do not need to be present to win.

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