WAXHAW, NC – In the early morning, before the heat rises and the roads become heavily trafficked, you may hear the low-throaty rumble of a muscle car’s exhaust as automotive enthusiasts gather at the Cureton Town Center. Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers started small, with only four people gathered in the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot in 2019, and now entertains a large crowd of participants. Whether you’re driving a Porsche 911, a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda, or a 2011 Acura, Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers is an organization centered around the community that welcomes everyone.
On Sunday, August 14, the parking lot was full of friendly faces, cool cars, and passionate vehicle owners standing tall by their pride and joy. CJ Dietzman, founder and gearhead says, “We support community, having fun, being safe, and enjoying life.” In addition to showcasing modern and classic cars, Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers supports local charities by collecting donations and giving organizations a different platform to spread awareness for their cause.
Hometown Heroes, a charity organization based in Union County, was sponsored this month. Created in 1998 to support children with cancer and their families, most members are bikers who are “big kids helping little kids.” Hometown Heroes Chair Jeff Cook explains, “We help them with living expenses, household expenses, travel expenses.” When a family member is diagnosed with cancer, the costs of medical care and work absences pose a financial burden. Hometown Heroes strives to alleviate some economic stressors while helping the family cope with the insurmountable emotional toll caused by a cancer diagnosis. “They’re going through treatment so that income stops. We pick up where that left off,” says Cook.
One of the family’s Hometown Heroes sponsored was attending the Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers event. Taft Floyd’s son was diagnosed in November of 2019, and two-thirds of his and his wife’s household income was lost to medical expenses and taking time off work to care for their son. Hometown Heroes came into their lives in 2020. “Every month, they would call. Do you need anything? Are your bills taken care of?” Floyd says. “In all honesty, they weren’t most of the time.” Hometown Heroes fights the realities of cancer, assisting with household finances and basic means to ensure a better quality of life. “It’s the stuff no one thinks about,” Floyd says. “Groceries, transportation, car payment, mortgage payment.”
Hometown Heroes is volunteer-based; all profits go to the families they support. The members assist families with finances, but there’s more they donate, a factor that isn’t as tangible as money, and that’s time. Their sponsors and volunteers wear invisible red capes in our community, reminding children there’s more to life than cancer by taking them to group outings like a baseball game or a trip to the zoo. The volunteers of Hometown Heroes are more than helping hands; they’re a familial bond that devotes their time and energy to alleviating some of the stress cancer causes while building lasting relationships. “My son has aged out of the program, but he’s still going through chemo, and Hometown Heroes still regularly calls to check up on him,” Floyd says.
Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers raised over $500 for Hometown Heroes on Sunday, a number that will impact the lives of multiple families with children diagnosed with cancer. Automotive enthusiasts show up early on the second Sunday of every month not only to share their passion for cars with other motorheads but to make a difference within the community and touch the lives of strangers who need a little assistance. Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers is constantly growing, establishing roots in the community while emphasizing what it means to live in a small town, with people willing to show up for each other when needed and have fun doing it.