Tri-State Cruisers hold classic car and truck rally

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Tue., Oct. 25, 2011
Tri-State President Dick Salvus with his red '57 Chevy. Photos by D. Coffey.
Tri-State President Dick Salvus with his red '57 Chevy. Photos by D. Coffey.

On Oct. 23, more than 300 cars and their proud owners took over the Sears parking lot on Route 44 in Putnam. The weekly gathering of Tri-State Cruisers is held, weather permitting, every Saturday from May through September. President Dick Salvus, who has spent 18 years worth of those Saturdays playing disc jockey for the group, is as proud of his four cars as what the group has accomplished.

In 18 years, the Cruisers have raised more than $100,000 for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford.

Drivers come from Fitchburg, Springfield, Westport, Hartford, Providence and beyond to show their shiny cars and rebuilt engines and glory in all things automotive. With 50/50 raffles and money donated through the Thompson Lion's club, Salvus and his group were able to present camp director Matthew Cook with a check for $10,526 for this season alone.

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp provides summer camp experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses. Physicians and nurses staff the camp so that the medical needs of all the campers can be treated while they are attending.

“People wonder why it's so expensive,” Salvus said, “but they're on chemo and drugs and need all kinds of medical attention. Some of those kids won't see next year.”

According to Cook, the average cost is $2,500 per camper, per week. “The Tri-State Cruisers have been very generous with their finances and their cars,” said Cook. “They've come out to show the kids the cars and give them rides.”

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