Care Camps Director of Development Jennifer Mercer called Randy and Teresa Wagner expecting to make their day. The couple, RV dealership proprietors in Falling Waters, West Virginia, had just won $10,000.
When Mercer congratulated the Wagners on winning Care Camps’ contest, the couple surprised her right back and immediately donated the prize.
“I’m calling, thinking I’m making [their] day,” Mercer said. “Instead, I’m crying, and they’re making my day.
Care Camps is a non-profit childhood cancer charity that did not have the opportunity to conduct its annual week-long outdoor experience in 2020 because of COVID-19. Last year, Care Camps’ 135 U.S. and Canadian camps were not able to provide medical care, counseling or outdoor opportunities to the children and their families.
Mercer said the company closed out 2020 better than anticipated, but, “we had some ground to make up.”
Level 5 Marketing provided a solution: Any RV, marine or motorsports dealership that donated $500 to Care Camps by Dec. 30, 2020, was entered to win a donated $10,000 cash prize.
“I did the initial donation because our family has been through childhood cancer,” Randy Wagner said. “Any time I can donate to kids with cancer, I do it.”
Randy’s nephew and Teresa’s niece since have recovered from their battles with the disease.
“It’s funny because, when I donated, I thought, ‘If I win this thing, I’m giving it all back’,” Randy Wagner said.
Randy and Teresa started Wagner’s Outdoor Express RV dealership five years ago. Only their son and son-in-law, along with the warranty manager and the warranty manager’s grandsons, work at the small, family-owned business.
“When you buy here, you’re buying from a family and are treated like family,” Randy said.
Together, Randy and Teresa have four children and 10 grandchildren.
“My whole life has revolved around kids,” Randy said. “Anyone who knows me knows this is not a surprise.”
The $10,000 the Wagners gave back to Care Camps will provide direct funding to 2021 participants. Though Mercer hopes to have in-person camps this year, she said Care Camps is prepared to host the program virtually again.
In lieu of encouraging hope and healing outdoors, Care Camps brought cabin chats to Zoom in 2020 and sent “camp-in-a-box” to participants with contents such as chalk, pop-up tents and archery kits. Because camp was not in person, Care Camps “was able to include kids they were never able to include before, like those who have been in the hospital for months, if not years,” Mercer said.
The RV industry experienced a good year, despite the global pandemic. Mercer said Care Camps hopes to see all RV dealerships and manufacturers donate and support Care Camps moving forward, whether it is $100 per unit or an individually orchestrated fundraising event.
“This is too important, and I think people see that,” Mercer said. “We’ll find a way to get support one way or another, but we want the industry to be a part of that.”