Darryl Searer, chairman and president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., - Darryl Searer, chairman and president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall) and Barry Cole, president of MH Insurance Services and past chairman of the Hall, spoke to a group of manufactured housing (MH) executives at the Manufactured Housing Institute's 78th Annual Meeting on September 15th at the Westin Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. They unveiled a new five-year fundraiser especially for the MH industry designed to help the Hall retire its debt.
After updating the MH leaders of the Hall's current financial position, Searer urged the attendees to help the Hall retire its debt by pledging their support for the campaign.
Explaining to the group that the Hall's debt was a result of unfulfilled pledges Mr. Cole commented, "In 2007 our idea was to construct a great legacy building that would include an event center, library and museum with unique display models on 40 acres, and it was to be completely debt free. Fortunately, the facility was built; but unfortunately, we only received $7 million of the $12 million pledged."
Cole continued, "Darryl Searer has been our volunteer president for the past two-and-a-half years working full time with no salary to reduce the Hall's debt while building and maintaining the Hall's integrity. We have made significant progress under Darryl's leadership."
Searer said, "Over the past 30 months we have reduced the debt by an average of $100,000-plus per month--that's over $3 million in debt reduction from the $5.5 million owed two and a half years ago. We were able to accomplish this through fundraisers and by cutting expenses, increasing income, and renegotiating with our creditors."
Today, The Hall has only two creditors and debt has been reduced to less than $2,450,000.
The major creditor is the Robert "Boots" Ingram family. Boots, now deceased, loaned the Hall $2 million interest free for five years to help complete the construction of the Hall thinking that the remaining pledges would be honored within five years. Later that year, Boots loaned the Hall an additional $1,097,000 at 6% interest for five years. Both balances became due in 2012; however, the loans could not be repaid because the earlier pledges had not been fulfilled.
Searer said, "The Ingram Family has been extremely cooperative, patient and generous, even providing a matching credit of 50% on all principal payments paid toward the loan."
The idea to start the MH debt elimination plan is a result of Cole's conversations with Kevin Clayton. Cole said, "Kevin made the suggestion after learning of the progress that has been made at the Hall. He cited the Hall's sound management, the board assurances to never borrow again, and its improved financial position as reasons for his decision to support the Hall.
"We are extremely pleased and grateful that Kevin pledged a donation of $40,000 per year for the next five years for a total contribution of $200,000." Cole concluded.
In honor of Kevin's suggestion and generosity, Searer announced the new fundraiser would be called the "Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge."
Searer challenged the MH leaders to open their hearts and wallets and join Kevin Clayton to help the Hall retire its debt in 3 to 5 years by pledging $1 million over the next three to five years. The other $1.5 million will come from the RV industry.
Joe Stegmayer, president, Cavco Industries, Inc., enthusiastically joined Kevin Clayton. Stegmayer, who also serves as the Hall's vice chairman, said, "We are presently reviewing the amount Cavco will be contributing to this worthwhile cause and will announce our pledge in October."
Searer said, "All pledges are tax deductible and all donations are appreciated regardless of amount. Every contribution will be used to pay the loans outstanding."
"It's time," Cole said, "to complete the work we all agreed to do many years ago."
Many companies and individuals have benefitted and profited from the MH industry and enjoyed great careers over the years. By making a pledge or a donation today companies and individuals will be helping to project a first class image of manufactured homes to thousands of people who visit the Hall each year.
Donations can be made on the Hall's web site (www.rvmhhalloffame.org) and pledge forms are available for download.
Members of the MH industry will be contacted in the near future by Judy Jankowski, the RV/MH Hall of Fame's vice president of development, to solicit their support for the "Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge"
Donations can also be sent to:
Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge
RV/MH Hall of Fame
21565 Executive Parkway
Elkhart Indiana 46514
Kevin Clayton Pledge Card<
Blank Pledge Card
by RV/MH Hall of Fame