CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Melanie Henry, a car enthusiast has used her pastime to give back to charities.
Before Henry could even drive, she knew all about cars by attending shows with her father. She saw how they have a way of bringing people together.
So, in 2011 when Henry became the Clearfield County Fair Queen and was asked to host a fundraising event, naturally, she wanted to hold a car show
That’s how Mel’s Car Shows got its start, with her first show being “Queens for a Cause.”
“Our goal was to have a very family-friendly event,” Henry said. “We wanted something that not just the car guys would want, but we wanted their wives to come, we wanted their kids to come.”
“The Madera Fire Company reached out and asked, ‘would you be willing to hold a car show for us,'” Henry said. “It has just snowballed from there. Now we have shows in Glenn Hope, Hastings and new this year we have one in Huntingdon.”
In 10 years and after about 30 car shows, Henry estimates that she has raised at least $125,000 for local charities in the community.
“It’s amazing,” Henry said. “I never thought that just having a love of cars and going to car shows with my dad would turn into such a large success. To just be able to give back to the community, it feels really good.”
“To see what they are able to do with the funds that we raise for them is truly remarkable,” Henry emotionally said. “The amount of people that they help through me being able to help them is truly wonderful.”
The shows take a lot of planning, but being able to give back to the community makes it all worthwhile, Henry explained.
“At the end of the day it just hits me that all of those people were there to have a good time with their cars, but also they are committing to this cause as well,” Henry said.
Henry’s love for cars stems from her dad and his, 1959 El Camino, which is like a family heirloom.
“Just the story of it and how my dad has had it for so long,” Henry said.
Henry’s dad pulled the car out of a field in the 1970s and restored it to what it is today.
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“If it was in the garage watching him work on cars or if it was tagging along with him to a car show or cruise-in, I got my love of cars from my dad,” she explained.
Henry has taken her childhood delight and turned it into something greater than she ever imagined. And to think, it all started with her dad’s 1959 El Camino.