Memphis to Knox for ETCH, on tractor

Rotary Club of Farragut’s fundraising effort for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is quite unique thanks to RCF member Ron Lawrence, who will be driving a tractor from Memphis to Knoxville and possibly Bristol this fall.

“My goal is to leave Memphis on a Sunday morning, and it will take all week to drive back to Knoxville,” Lawrence said of the yet-to-be-determined day and time in early November. “This tractor is rated with cruise control, of all things. It could go 18 mph.”

Scott Bertini, RCF service projects chairman, launched the fundraiser at the club’s Wednesday Aug. 17, meeting in Fox Den Country Club.

“I am here to present something that’s really exciting that Rotary Club of Farragut is going to be involved, speaking on behalf of Ron,” Bertini said. “Ron watched a news interview about a man from Seattle whose brother was dying of Parkinson’s disease.

“He owned a tractor and decided to take the tractor from Seattle, Washington, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to raise money for Parkinson’s disease,” he added. “Ron has a tractor and thought that could be really fun and exciting. Don’t know what that looks like, but it could be really interesting.

“And, (Lawrence) has a huge passion for giving back, for helping the community, and approached me with service projects to see what we could potentially do.

The two talked about their fundraising interests and came up with supporting ETCH.

Sonya Ford, Bertini and Lawrence are organizing the fundraiser.

“We as a club — and potentially the state and nationwide —are going to be supporting Ron as he takes his tractor the first week of November from Memphis all the way to Knoxville and potentially on to Bristol in an effort to raise money,” Bertini said.

“We’re still going to be doing the toy drive at Christmas time,” he added. “This is going to be something outside of that. We have contacted the hospital. It has a lot of medical equipment needs, and we’re going to raise money for as much equipment as we can potentially provide for them.

With an initial goal of raising $100,000, “ … the donation would come from us, Rotary Club of Farragut, to the hospital,” Bertini said.

The club will take the tractor to ETCH for the children to see. Working with the hosptial’s marketing team, Bertini said club members will be decorating the tractor with a banner, corporate sponsor logos and Rotary logos.

To donate, or more information, call Bertini at 865-898-4421.