CANANDAIGUA — Nearly $400,000 was raised for Mercy Flight helicopter at the annual “Taste for the Race” fundraiser and auction in Ontario County on Saturday.
Company officials said the annual event has raised $1,400,000 since it was founded in 2004. The nearly $400,000 raised on Saturday is the largest single amount raised at one event.
The event featured food and wine from Constellation Brands and Childress Vineyards, as well as Nolan’s Catering and New York Kitchen. The event is sponsored by Richard Childress, former NASCAR racer and owner of Richard Childress Racing. The auction included tickets to several events with Childress, including an opportunity to attend the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 2020.
Roughly 26 years ago, Shaunna Clark was Mercy Flight’s first pediatric patient, air-lifted to a local hospital, officials said. Her mother, Ginny Clark, shared the story with her friend, Childress, and he offered to help raise money for Mercy Flight by setting up Taste for the Race.
The money this year will go towards a number of improvements and upgrades for Mercy Flight, including pilot simulator training and factory training for maintenance staff., officials said.
Mercy Flight was founded in 1992 to provide air transport for emergency medical patients. They have bases in Rome, Canandaigua and Marcellus, and are able to transport within a 150-mile radius of each base. Officials said they have four helicopters in total, with at least one chopper and crew at the ready at each base 24/7.