Donations to be doubled

Challenge matches dollars from businesses

Heavy rains in fall of 2016 turned Dallas High School’s field into a mud pit.

Photo by Lukas Eggen
Heavy rains in fall of 2016 turned Dallas High School’s field into a mud pit.

DALLAS — For the Dallas Booster Club’s Turf Project, every penny counts toward the $800,000 goal by April 1. Through collecting bottles and cans at Les Schwab, the club has raised more than $13,000, Athletics Director Tim Larson said.

But bottles and cans alone won’t get the club to its goal in time.

When Michael Eshelby saw the signs in town about the bottle and can drive, he thought, “There’s no way they’re going to collect enough bottles to pay the bill.”

Eshelby decided to challenge local businesses and corporations to invest in the project by pledging to match those donations dollar for dollar.

“The amount the boosters need is a sizable amount,” said Eshelby, who runs a same-day courier service in Portland and lives in Dallas. “The only way it’s going to get done is with corporate support.”

Booster Club president Stephanie Earhart said Eshelby’s commitment is huge.

“Not only does it double the impact of these donations, it encourages others to support the project as well,” she said. “We cannot thank Michael Eshelby and these businesses enough for their support. Every donation brings us a step closer to our goal as we prepare to order turf materials in April.”

Kathy Voves, a Dallas Booster volunteer, said the challenge has been, not only beneficial to the fundraising efforts, but fun to do.

“His kids don’t play the sports that would use the field, but he said, ‘I just see the value to the community, the kids and the program,’” Voves said. “We go out and talk to business. I told him, ‘I’m gonna make you pay.’”

Eshelby has two children in the Dallas School District, including a daughter on the cheer squad.

“I understand the reason they’re doing (the Turf Project),” he said. “The field, the way it’s engineered, is a mud bath during the season if rain hits. I’ve attended a game or two during the season, and you couldn’t really tell where the field ended and the grass began.”

With the turf installation, Eshelby said the field should be re-engineered to drain properly, reducing — or eliminating — weather-related issues.

“I hope more businesses get involved,” Eshelby said. “I hope that more businesses understand that either they get involved or it’s not going to happen.”

At press time, the Business Challenge had raised $39,000, which Eshelby will match. Total cash, pledges and in-kind donations as of Jan. 25: $569,000.

For more information about the Turf Project:

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