Sunday, June 22, 2003

Drive for autographs aids charity


Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer Contributor

[IMAGE] David Britton has about 75 celebrity autographs, most from motorsports figures.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
Who: David Britton, 38, of Silverton, a CPA with a passion for motorsports.

On display: His collection of "roughly 75" celebrity autographs.

Where: Carefully bound in ring binders. He sometimes takes "up to three" out at a time for display.

CPA numbers: "Ninety-five percent are motorsports-related," Britton says. "Of that, probably 90 percent of that is limited to the NASCAR series."

His favorite autographs are from the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty. Other signatures include astronaut Buzz Aldrin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Start your engines: Britton began his collection in late 1999. He was attending an auction in Phoenix for cerebral palsy. "They asked each NASCAR driver to donate an item to raise money," he says. "I bought an autographed photo/driver card from Tony Stewart."

A winning proposal: He formed a plan to obtain more.

"If the drivers were willing to donate items to raise money for charity," he reasoned, "perhaps they would be willing to give me an autograph if I agreed to donate something to their favorite charities.

"The letters basically say, 'I've been an avid fan for many years; here's a history of my involvement with the sport, and, like many fans, I would like to obtain an autograph.' I then ask for an autographed photo in exchange for a promise to donate a financial contribution, usually $20 to $25, to the charity of their choice."

Wish fulfillment: When Britton receives an autograph, he directs a letter (and check) to the charity outlining why he is making the donation. Then he sends a copy to the driver's fan club.

Most drivers choose Motor Racing Outreach, an organization that describes itself as "a nondenominational ministry committed to making a positive impact in the lives of those in the motorsports community."

Third generation: Just as Britton was introduced to the sport by his dad, he has passed the bug on to his daughter, Elizabeth, 6. "She loves the M&M's car," he says. "Also McDonald's and Cheerios. But I'm not surprised. Racing is traditionally a very family-oriented sport."

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, 45202; e-mail: marsolete@aol.com. Please include a daytime, weekday phone number.




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