Car dealers, realtors band together to help ACS



By Ron Giofu


First it was Concours Mold Inc., now it is a group of Amherstburg car dealers and realtors helping to get Amherstburg Community Services’ (ACS) complement up to full strength.

Just weeks after the Goggin family and Concours Mold teamed to bring the fundraising total to $75,000 for a new accessible bus, four local car dealers and a pair of local realtors were at ACS last Tuesday afternoon where a 2009 van was presented to the agency.

Representing the car dealers were Scott Elliott and Mike Bezzoubkin from Amherstburg GM, Matt Semande from Thrasher Sales and Leasing, Michelle Ropac from Joe Meloche Ford and Leo Racicot Jr. from Racicot Chrysler while realtors John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler also were part of the team that helped acquire the van.

Elliott said once the issue went public about ACS having their former vehicles break down and removed from the road, everyone decided to help out.

“The four (car dealerships) got together and said we want to help with the situation,” said Elliott. “John and Kim heard about it and wanted to help too.”

The van, valued at approximately $10,000, will assist ACS with different services but the primary focus at the current time will be the St. Clair College shuttle service. The shuttle service had been cancelled for the fall semester due to the vehicle shortage but has now been restored thanks to the donations from the community.

Local car dealers and realtors banded together to purchase a new van for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS). From left: Leo Racicot Jr., Kim Wheeler, John D’Alimonte, Mike Bezzoubkin, Michelle Ropac, Kathy DiBartolomeo, Branka Stewin, Scott Elliott and Matt Semande.

Elliott said the process took about six weeks to come together.

Thrasher Sales & Leasing stated they are pleased to be part of a “terrific group of dealers” that allowed such a donation to happen.

“Thrasher Sales would like to send a big thank you to our customers and community, as it’s their support that allows us to give back and help organizations like the ACS and so many other local causes. These organizations help so many people in our community,” Semande stated.

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services, was very happy with the donation and said students can now have a reliable way of getting to class. She noted there are students who used the service for three years and now, in their graduating year, can continue.

“We are relieved we can continue to get them to St. Clair,” she said.

DiBartolomeo stated it “will be a well-used vehicle” and that it could be used for other purposes as well.

Branka Stewin, program co-ordinator at ACS, said there are five students currently enrolled for the St. Clair College student shuttle. While that doesn’t mean it’s filled up, there are few spots remaining but those who sign up after spots are filled can be placed on a waiting list.

DiBartolomeo added that ACS is “extremely grateful” that the community has come together to learn about and support the agency. They offer over 20 services out of its office.

For more information on Amherstburg Community Services, visit, visit their office at 179 Victoria St S. or call 519-736-5471.

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