Nearly $10,000 was raised Saturday at the first annual Wheels for Warmth tire "swap and drop" for the Central Vermont Community Action group's fuel assistance program held at Dubois Construction in Montpelier. The program, conceptualized by Washington Country State Senator, Phil Scott exceeded his wildest expectations and accomplished its goals on three levels.

Scott commented, "The "Wheels for Warmth" project incorporates the entire life-cycle of a tire, from `the cradle to the grave.' We took tires that were reusable and made them available and affordable for people to buy. The ones that were no longer safe were kept out of our roadsides and waterways. And the ones that didn't sell will be put to further use by the Community Action people.
He continued, "People really seemed to feel good about the day. Even those whose tires were deemed not road worthy by Motor Vehicles were ok with that." Todd Deuso, Division Manager at Casella Montpelier, revealed that 1,100 non road-worthy tires were taken in which netted $2,200 to Wheels for Warmth. Furthermore, the non-usable tires will be reclaimed and/or recycled and will not go into a landfill.
"I feel like a race car driver in Victory Lane," the well known New England stock car racer continued, "I'm getting all of the credit and accolades but it is really the crew and team that put it all together that made it successful."
One-thousand tires were sold after being checked for road-worthiness by representatives from the Motor Vehicle Department which raised $6,760. "The same staff members from Motor Vehicle were here for the two drop off days as well as the entire drop and swap on Saturday measuring more than 2,000 units. Of the tires available for sale, only about 150 to 200 were left," Scott added.
In addition to the monies raised from the tire sales and disposal fees, an additional $850 in donations were given by various individuals. Organizer Scott explained, "Several people came by, some didn't even bring tires, and wrote out checks and gave cash to support Wheels for Warmth. One person," he continued, "Bill Shepeluk, Waterbury's Town Manager, pulled me aside and said, `I've been saving some money to go to the hurricane victims, but I thought it made sense to keep some of that money closer to home.' His thoughts really validated the project."
In addition to Casella Waste Management and the Motor Vehicle Department, other businesses and organizations involved with the inaugural Wheels for Warmth program included WDEV Radio, Booth Brothers, Sen. Dick Mazza and Mazza General Store, Lamberton Electric and the Community Action Council, who brought nearly a dozen volunteers as well as many individuals. Also, the Associated General Contractors, Barre City Police Department and Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl contributed to the event's success.