Peak to Peak motorists give generously

Photo by Pat Sunderland Mark Burgard and Cheryl Oeltjenbruns are pictured with Don and Laurie Hicks, owners of Porsche of Colorado Springs, the title sponsor of the Peak to Peak Rallye.

The Peak to Peak Rallye has come through Delta on three separate occasions, each time leaving the Abraham Connection with a generous donation to help cover operating costs of the homeless shelter.

Individually and as a group, motorists in the Peak to Peak Rallye have opened their checkbooks and their hearts, first with a $10,000 check that provided seed money to build the homeless shelter at 5th and Silver.

On the next visit, Cheryl Oeltjenbruns, Abraham Connection board member, was stunned with four checks totaling $19,200.

At the group's most recent stop, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, tour organizer Mark Burgard handed over yet another check that brought the group's donation to $49,000. In front of the gathering of Lamborghini, Porsche and Jaguar drivers, he lamented that the group fell short of the $50,000 mark.

"Do you take cash?" one of the drivers asked Oeltjenbruns. Before she could formulate a response, he handed over $1,000 in cash.

Again, Oeltjenbruns was stunned by the generosity of the group.

She explained Abraham Connection will begin its 11th season of shelter on Nov. 1. This year, the shelter will remain open for six months, through April.

A working board of 10 is augmented by 300-plus volunteers from the community who provide meals, launder the bedding, and cover the 6 p.m. to midnight shift. The only paid employees handle intake and supervision from midnight to 8 a.m.

This year, Abraham Connection continued case management services through the summer, offering whatever resources the homeless needed to become more self-sufficient. In addition, the shelter was open every Monday for lunch, a shower or use of the washer and dryer.

"We're not just sheltering people, we're helping them move beyond homelessness," she told the drivers.

The Peak to Peak Rallye is an annual charity sports car rallye touring the Rocky Mountain region, primarily in Colorado as the fall colors change. Burgard explained that the donations to Abraham Connection are made possible through entry fees and the title sponsor, Porsche of Colorado Springs.

While motorists enjoy the scenery, the winding roads and the camaraderie of the event, "It's what we do now that makes the difference," said Burgard. "It's a gift for us to be able to make this donation."

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