Cruisin' for a cause pulls into Denny's Sept. 27

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They won’t be waving any checkered flags on Thursday evening, Sept. 27 at the Denny’s All-American Restaurant parking lot off Hartford Avenue in Johnston.

However, the Johnston Street Machines – a unique non-profit that hosts the popular Thursday night Cruisin’ for a Cause events that features vintage vehicles and motorcycles – will close out its fourth seasonal run with a music-filled Trophy Night.

“I don’t know where the summer has gone; we only have four weeks left on our 2017 schedule,” said JSM President Gary Maddocks. “We had the most rainouts ever; but all-in-all we’ve had another successful season and we’d like to make our fifth season special in 2019 for more important charities.”

Perhaps “super special” would be the best description of last Thursday night’s Cruisin’ for a Cause, which was filled with several heart-warming events highlighted by the JSM’s credo of again giving back to the community in a number of ways.

For those people not familiar with such classic car cruises, the JSM hosts a show every Thursday night from 5 to 8 in the Denny’s Parking lot off Route 6 and graciously accepts a donation of $5 per car that are on display for people of all ages to view for free.

Moreover, the non-profit holds a 50/50 raffle that simply means people purchase tickets and once the winning ducat is drawn, the winner will take home half of the night’s collection.

Last Thursday night’s 50/50 raffle was one example of giving back, as Cal Calabro – a former softball superstar around New England who is a fun-loving member of the Goodfella’s Motorcycle Club – won the night’s pot.

Although the amount wasn’t quite what it was when the Goodfella’s gave $7,200 to Hasbro Children’s Hospital last December that was raised after a motorcycle run, Calabro’s gift had just as much meaning for the JSM’s monthly charity Friends of Homeless Animals of Rhode Island.

“Amazing,” Maddocks and JSM Treasurer Gina Sabitoni-Aerkelian exclaimed. “He won $101 and gave it directly to Tara

Buonanno Williams,

who founded

for FOHA RI.

Likewise, Sabitoni-Arakelian – who is one of four founding members of the JSM – presented a check to Buonanno Williams

for FOHA RI in the amount of $1,200 that Cruisin’ for a Cause raised during August.

FOHA RI is an organization dedicated to rescuing small dogs and save them from kill shelters.

“They’re a non-profit no-kill shelter focusing on the result and placement of homeless animals,” Sabitoni-Arakelian offered. “We’re proud to make this donation in hopes that they can find warm homes for all their animals.”

Buonanno Williams,

meanwhile, helped judge the night’s classic cars and motorcycles and later presented a total of 17 trophies for best in show and other categories.

The night’s top two winners were Richard George, DJ the Car Guy for his 1932 Ford Coupe and Michael Pingitore, who accepted a trophy on behalf of his late father Raymond Pingitore, who was a regular Cruisin’ for a Cause participate until his recent passing.

“He was a familiar face at our shows,” Maddocks related of the late Pingitore, who always showed his 1966 white Ford Mustang Convertible that was the winner of last Thursday night’s Best in Show. “Ray will be sadly missed, as he always came to our shows. It should also be noted that his beautiful Mustang was previously owned by Major Gen. Reginald A. Centracchio, who traded a military vehicle with Ray several yeas ago.”

Also, among last Thursday night’s winners were Dave Blanchette, ’68 Mustang; Bob and Elaine Houle Brothers, 1957 Chevy; Rod Chuddy, 1956 Chevy; and George for his 1932 Ford. The JSM will begin its September cruise schedule, weather permitting, from 5 to 8 in the Denny’s parking lot off Route 6 in Johnston.

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