Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) Southern & Central Alberta received a new 2017 Dodge Caravan donated by Southside Dodge. The van will allow RMHC to redirect approximately $10,000 from its travel-related administrative costs.
“I have a personal indebtedness to Ronald McDonald House,” said an emotional Rod Oszust, general manager at Southside Dodge.
The dealership has supported RMHC for the past four years when the house came to have special significance to Oszust, a long time employee.
Jan. 24th marked the four-year anniversary of the passing of Oszust’s two-year-old grandson, Lukas Oszust.
Lukas was in and out of hospitals with congenital heart defects for all of his short life. During this period, his family stayed in the Northern Alberta RMHC.
“Once they got there, they were immediately part of the family, and they wished they had been there from day one,” Rod said.
“Until you experience it you don’t know how important it is to people.”
The new van will be used for staff to commute between the southern and central Alberta locations, which share operations. It will also be used to run errands, drive to fundraising events and drive guests to appointments if they are without a vehicle.
Southside Dodge has been sponsoring the Lukey’s Light Golf Tournament in support of RMHC for the past couple of years. Over the past year and a half they have been involved with the ‘home for dinner’ program, where a group of employees will come down and cook a meal for those staying there.
Over the years, Rod and his colleague Mike Thibeau, marketing manager, developed a friendship with Rhanda Bonet-Graham the development manager at RMHC.
They got talking about other ways the dealership could contribute to the charity and were excited by the idea of donating a vehicle.
The Southern and Central RMHC currently has staff use their personal vehicles and reimburses them for the mileage to drive to events.