Lakewood resident Ken Bollman can turn the key, because this event is officially a go.
Weeks of planning, banging on doors and single-handed fundraising efforts have finally resulted in a green flag for a July 6 private screening of the Disney Pixar animated movie “Cars 2” to benefit the Lakewood Branch Boys & Girls Club of Puget Sound.
Scheduled for July 6 at 5:45 p.m. at the AMC Loews movie theater at the Lakewood Towne Center, the movie will be preceded and followed by a “Cruise-In for The Kids” informal car show starting in the former GI Joe's parking lot at the corner of Main Street and 59th Avenue SW in the Lakewood Towne Center.
All donations and sponsorships will benefit the , Bollman said.
For Bollman, 49, who became sales manager a month ago at European Motors, 5911 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, it’s all about community spirit and giving something back to his town and local youth.
Bollman traces his community spirit to a personal turning point that occurred the day after he arrived in Manhattan on a business trip on Sept. 10, 2001.
“Everyone knows what happened the next day,” he said tearfully, referring to the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center. “Being a veteran traveler, I was used to being able to shuffle along with anything that happened. But I never felt so helpless in my life, being on the other side of the country.”
That single, devastating event made him realize just how much life turns on a dime, and just how important it is to stay close to family and home .
“I decided to make a real change,” he said. “So I resigned the position I loved and started a new career locally in real estate. Now I’m in the car business.”
Bollman said he recently saw a movie trailer for "Cars 2," the animated sequel. That got him thinking about his own passion for all things automotive. The idea really started to gel, however, when an advertisement appeared on the big screen for private showings of current movies.
“My affinity to Motown and American-made automobiles has something to do with my life right now, and that came from having lived in the Detroit area from 1968 through 1972,” said Bollman, the son of a former minister and social worker.
“I thought, OK, I’m going to do a private screening to help make an impact on the community and get something good going,” he said. “I looked around the community and realized the Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound is, far and away, the No. 1 non-profit organization inside the city limits of Lakewood.”
Private screenings typically require rental of between 155 and 205 seats, Bollman said. Originally, the plan was to solicit contributions from friends and other business people to cover the $2,000-plus cost. But that proved difficult because of today’s struggling economy.
As a result, it took a lot more leg work and knocking on doors than originally anticipated. Ultimately, however, Bollman was able to firm up the donations and set a screening date with Loews Towne Center.
Erik Kramer, director of the Gary and Carol Milgard Family Hope Center Lakewood Branch Boys and Girls Club, said he is thrilled about having Bollman and other business people sponsor the screening for Lakewood’s underprivileged youth.
“It was actually ironic. I was already planning on stopping by and seeing Ken at European Motors and trying to meet the business community,” he said.
“It’s exciting for our kids,” Kramer added. “I know a lot of them loved the first "Cars" movie. I think the sequel would be something they’ll really gravitate towards.”
Kramer said most of the youngsters using the club receive free or reduced-price lunches at school. More than 80 percent come from low-income families that typically do not have a lot of money for recreational activities, he said.
“Most of the things they do recreation-wise actually are through the Boys & Girls Clubs, from going on field trips to movies and things like that,” Kramer said.
“You and I might not think of it as a big burden,” he noted, “but it’s about $10 for a movie ticket now. That’s why I thank Ken for giving our kids the opportunity of having an event like this.”
For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs, visit the Lakewood Branch at 10402 Kline St. SW or click here and find the Lakewood Branch or telephone (253) 502-4660.