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Locals and Their Race Car Raised Money for Special Olympics

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June 23, 2005 – When St. John residents Doug and Sharon Ehle went trekking around the country last summer with their 1965 Shelby Cobra 427S/C racing car in tow, they flew the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics banner. And they sold raffle tickets at 14 different CarQuest distribution centers to raise money for the program. A six-night stay on St. John was the prize.
The winners, Bill and Teresa Gorsuch of Centerburg, Ohio, arrived Sunday.
"It's a great opportunity to be out here," Bill Gorsuch said, and Teresa said they've had a wonderful time. They've enjoyed learning to snorkel, she said.
The Gorsuches are the guests of the Westin Resort and Villas.
Doug Ehle and his wife, Sharon, own Caravan Auto Service on St. John. He said CarQuest is the Special Olympics corporate sponsor. Caravan Auto is a CarQuest franchise.
Doug Ehle said that every CarQuest distribution center does some kind of fundraiser for Special Olympics. And law enforcement agencies across the country serve as volunteers at the Special Olympics events, he said. "It's amazing the support they give to this," he said.
The trek around the country with the Shelby Cobra raised nearly $25,000 for Special Olympics.
He said he also showed photos of St. John in hopes of generating interest among potential visitors.
CarQuest picked up the airfare for the Gorsuches and provided $500 for expenses. Delbert Hill car rental donated a vehicle for their entire stay. Restaurant owner Winston Bennett donated a dinner at any one of his four restaurants – Chloe and Bernard, Asolare, Paradiso, and Chateau Bordeaux. Additionally, the day sail boat Gypsy and Motoryacht Cinnamon Bay both provided day trips for the Gorsuches.
And Ehle plans to take the Gorsuches on an island tour in the blue-with-white-stripe Shelby Cobra.
Bill Gorsuch won the trip because his boss, who owns a CarQuest franchise called Washington Auto Parts in Sunbury, Ohio, bought him the $10 raffle ticket. Gorsuch is the manager at that store.
Ehle said he and his wife started out in April 2004 in Huntington Beach, Calif. They broke the trip into sections so they could return home twice to keep tabs on their business. The trip finished in Ocala, Fla., at CarQuest's major distribution center.
Along the way, Ehle raced the car three times, but he said they were a "bragging rights" event rather than a flat-out racing event.
"It doesn't matter who wins or who loses. It's just having fun," he said.
Ehle, who bought the Shelby Cobra two years ago from automotive legend Carroll Shelby, said the car can go from zero to 60 in under three seconds and from zero to 100 and back to zero in under 10 seconds.
He said he doesn't get much chance to put the car to a test on St. John, but he said there are a couple of spots where it's possible.
"But I have a lot of fun with it," he said.
He also had a lot of fun Thursday when a half dozen or so men seemed to materialize out of nowhere when Ehle showed up with the Shelby Cobra at the Westin for a photo shoot.
"You got to hear this thing fire up," Westin executive chef Douglas Simmonds said on his cell phone to a friend located elsewhere at the Westin.
Ehle said he keeps it at Caravan Auto in Pine Peace because he doesn't want to drive it up the dirt road to his home on Ajax Peak.
He said the Shelby Cobra dominated the racing circuit in the 1960s and 1970s.
"There's only 500 Cobras in existence," he said, noting that this one was a 40th anniversary edition.

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