Rizza Ford backs Erin’s AAIM
BY JEANNE MILSAP For Sun-Times Media January 24, 2013 12:18PM
Sandy and Gerry Olmsted, of Orland Park, hold a check with Dan McMillan, the CFO of Rizza Ford in Orland Park. The Olmsteds received a donation to their non-profit group, Erin's AAIM for Change, from Rizza. | Mary Compton~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 28, 2013 6:19AM
Joe Rizza Ford of Orland Park recently handed over donations of $4,000 to the charity, Erin’s AAIM for Change, a contribution the dealership knows will go a long way in the prevention of alcohol and driving-related deaths.
AAIM, the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, is a charity that’s near and dear to the hearts of those at Rizza Ford. In March 1997, Sandburg High School senior Erin E. Olmsted, 17, lost her life when she was involved in a car accident while riding as a passenger with an intoxicated driver.
She was an honor student, varsity gymnastics team captain, and a gymnastics coach at Tumble On U.S.A. in Orland Park.
The tragedy spurred Erin’s family and friends to begin AAIM, a nonprofit group committed to helping victims of drunken-driving accidents with financial, emotional and legal support. The organization also provides community education about the consequences of driving while intoxicated.
“We are relentless in our pursuit to aid this important organization,” said Dan McMillan, Joe Rizza Ford chief financial officer.
“This was very much appreciated by the Erin E. Olmsted Scholarship Fund and by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists,” said Erin’s father, Gerry Olmsted.
The work to build and continue the efforts of Erin’s AAIM “makes us feel like we’re turning a horrible event into something positive,” said Sandy Olmsted, Erin’s mother. “It keeps her memory alive. We hope she’s proud of our efforts.”
Proceeds dedicated to the scholarship fund will go to the educational advancement of students at Sandburg and Plainfield East high schools.
The dealership’s donation came from two events. One was a contest at the Ford Go Forward Night for the debut of the new Fusion Hybrid. Rizza Ford took the prize for the most who attended the event and received a check for $500 to the charity of its choice — AAIM.
The second event, sponsored by The Chicago Automobile Trade Association, was for the most votes garnered in an online competition. Rizza Ford received the most votes in this event, and donated that $3,500 to AAIM.
The dealership also raises money for AAIM at its annual Gridiron Golf Classic. Joe Rizza Ford of Orland Park is a full-line Ford, Lincoln and Kia dealership.
The organization sponsors other fundraisers, such as a golf outing with the local Pioneer football program, and a 5K run-walk at Centennial Park.
And every year, right around Erin’s birthday, Aug. 6, a handful of letters arrive at the Olmsteds’ home containing checks to help fund the effort.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Sandy said, “but it’s a good feeling when someone remembers her.”
For more information on Erin’s AAIM for Change, visit www.erinsaaimforchange.org.