Fourth Annual Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance benefiting Cool Cars for Kids to be rescheduled for 2021
PHILADELPHIA – Retired NFL Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil is passionate about many things - family, football, philanthropy, winemaking, and, what may be unknown to a lot of fans…classic cars.
Ever since nonprofit Cool Cars for Kids, Inc. (CCfK) established the Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance, an annual fundraising classic car competition affiliated with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Vermeil not only joined its board, but has participated every year in the event with his own 1926 Ford Miller Schofield Special sprint car, aka “Black Beauty,” that once belonged to and was raced by his father Louis Vermeil.
This year would have marked the fourth annual presentation of the Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance that was to be held on April 24-25, at the world famous Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. However, like the majority of concours events in the Philadelphia region and across the country, the City of Brotherly Love’s premier concours event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two-day event benefits CHOP in providing help and hope to children with rare genetic diagnoses and their families, and to support research that will identify the best possible treatments. For updates on next year’s event, including new scheduled dates, the public is invited to visit the Cool Cars for Kids website – www.coolcarsforkids.org.
Vermeil, who spent 15 seasons as an NFL head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs, and owns the distinction of being named “Coach of the Year” for high school, junior college, NCAA Division I and professional football, recently sat down with Cool Cars for Kids to talk about how he became involved with the nonprofit and the importance of its mission.
Below is a Q&A excerpt, edited for clarity and length; the video and interview can be seen below (video credit: Cosmo Losco Films), and also includes appearances by Michael Tillson III, president and director of Cool Cars for Kids, Chief Judge of the Concours, and one of the country’s most highly regarded authorities on classic and sports automobiles; Dr. Ian Krantz, pediatrician and geneticist at CHOP, and CCfK founder; Dr. Fred Simeone, founder of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum; and the Feehan family, parents of Connor Feehan, a patient at CHOP.
CCfK: How did you first get involved with Cool Cars for Kids?
DV: I’ve been involved with Cool Cars for Kids and the Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance since its inaugural in 2017. The reason I’ve been involved is because of our granddaughter, Amy Vermeil, who was born with a rare genetic condition, and who was diagnosed at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia years ago. Because of that, the Vermeil family got involved and their mission is very close to our hearts, and we appreciate what they do. They’ve done wonders with her. Amy’s a leader in our family - sort of a magnetic force that pulls us all together, and we appreciate each other even more so because of her.
CCfK: Your father Louis Vermeil was quite a car guy, racing sprint cars in California in the early ‘50s. You restored his 1926 Ford Miller Schofield Special. How does it feel to share this personal history by showing the car at the Concours?
DV: I enjoy the atmosphere of the Simeone Museum, the connection between the Cool Cars event and what it does for children with serious genetic disorders. Besides doing a lot of good, it’s a lot of fun. The other thing you recognize when you come to our event is the passion these people have for helping other people…and what they give up of their own time for events like this to do things to help these families that need that kind of help. I know from restoring my dad’s old race car that if you’re passionate about anything it’s great, but to be around people who are passionate about other things other than the way they make a living is a little bit different...and I really, really enjoy that.
For more information about Cool Cars for Kids and the Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance, visit www.coolcarsforkids.org, or call 267-982-CCfK (2235).
Cool Cars for Kids, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia, Pa. that brings together families of children with genetic conditions and classic car enthusiasts who share a common passion and appreciation for the one-of-a-kind. Funds raised from this unique partnership will directly forward its mission by supporting local and national charities – including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia – to deliver care and support to children and families who struggle with the medical complexities associated with rare diagnoses. www.coolcarsforkids.org
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