ALTON — Alton AutoTire manager Eric Thomas decided to show his loyalty to the Alton Redbirds and Marquette Explorers in his front showroom.
“I want the kids and their parents to know that we are there for them,” Thomas said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens and we want them to know we not only support them in their achievements, but we want them to be safe on the road. We don’t want to lose any more kids to car accidents if we can avoid them through car maintenance. If a kid brings their car in to have air put in the tires, I’m going to make sure it’s checked bumper to bumper to keep them safe on the road.”
Marquette Catholic High School art teacher Molly Velikis brought junior Abby Fahnestock and senior Lily Kostecki to paint the Explorers logo on one wall of the showroom while Alton High School art teacher Susan Elmendorf brought juniors Madeline St. Clair, Vanessa Campbell and Sophie Deucker to paint the Redbirds logo on the opposite side.
“All of the Alton AutoTire employees chipped in for the materials to do this remodel,” Thomas said. “We all wanted to be a part of it. We will have action sports photos and memorabilia on the walls from each school. We hope that area residents will come in and see their local athletes represented and keep us in mind when they need work done on their vehicles.”
The waiting room is also under remodel and will feature memorabilia from the former Godfrey Speedway, which closed in 2012. Thomas is seeking item donations related to the track to put on display from previous drivers, employees and fans.
“Godfrey Speedway was a great track and so many drivers and fans hated to see it go,” Thomas said. “I’m hoping that a former driver may donate their old racing suit, photos, programs and maybe a race car hood if they still have them.”
The teachers and students said they were thrilled they had the opportunity to represent their school and hope that students and their parents will go see their school’s logo on display.
“I think it’s great that AutoTire is investing back in our kids this way,” Velikis said. “The girls are having a lot of fun and since they’re the ones doing the work, they have an additional sense of pride that it’s on display at a local business.”