If you ever visit Thor’s global headquarters in Elkhart, you might notice the fun RV-themed artwork hanging on the walls.
ADEC artists were commissioned to create the artwork after two executives from Thor Industries – Bob Martin, President and CEO; and Ken Julian, Senior Vice President of Administration and Human Resources – toured Day Service at ADEC one day in May of 2016. Bob and Ken watched as individuals with disabilities created incredible paintings, ceramics and other pieces of art – and they knew the work would look great in their own offices.
Meet the winner
Craig McCollum, born and raised in Illinois, has had a 25+ year love affair with Airstreams. The unique travel trailers first caught his eye as a young college graduate traveling westward to capture the scenic landscapes of the Rocky Mountains with his photography degree in hand.
Over the years, as Craig honed his skill as a fine woodworker, his appreciation grew even stronger for the quality craftsmanship and timeless appeal of the Airstream design. At 50 years old, owning an Airstream is a dream come true for Craig.
Today, Craig and his family live in a small rural community in western Montana. They are avid outdoors people who love to learn about new places and people. They take advantage of all the wild and scenic places Montana has to offer, and they visit a different National Park or Monument each summer. Craig’s wife, Alicia, is a former Peace Corps volunteer who worked in the national park system in Uganda. She is now a local government employee and is an avid community volunteer and rockstar mama. Together, Craig and Alicia share their curiosity of and passion for nature with their 11-year-old son, Corbin, by camping, hiking, biking, skiing and more.
The new Airstream will become an integral part of the family’s repertoire for making memories that will last a lifetime. They plan to share their maiden voyage with Corbin’s grandparents in May for an inaugural camping adventure. Craig, Alicia and Corbin are excited to explore many new places in their Airstream in 2018; they are going to have a great night sleep in their beautiful home away from home.
We are so glad to make one of McCollums’ dreams come true. ADEC believes in providing more choices and greater possibilities for the individuals we serve.
During the tour, between chatting with the people ADEC serves and talking about our mission of creating choice and possibility for people with disabilities, we also got to talking about how Thor Industries and ADEC are two organizations with a legacy in Elkhart County. The motto of Thor Industries – “go your own way” – is one we can get behind at ADEC, as we were founded by a group of brave parents who dared to go their own way and fight for their children with disabilities to be included in the community.
From that conversation, a big idea was born: What about celebrating those legacies by combining the talent of ADEC artists with the allure of an Airstream. Soon, a bright and shiny Airstream Sport arrived in Bristol straight off the line in Jackson Center, Ohio – the aluminum serving as a canvas for our ADEC artists.
In anticipation of the arrival of the Airstream, we dreamed up design concepts with our artists and asked the public to vote on the top four designs. The winner was a design incorporating trees and birds, both popular elements in Art by ADEC pieces. With the help of Industrial Finishes and Vomela, a custom decal was applied to the Airstream to maintain the integrity of the unit while still making it all ADEC-ed out.
The custom Airstream was unveiled at ADEC’s Annual Celebration on October 26, 2017, kicking off a six-month raffle for the towable. ADEC released 1,952 tickets to signify the year the nonprofit was founded. Although we fell short of our goal and sold just under 450 tickets, we still had the chance to introduce new people to ADEC and our work. Tickets orders from as far away as Washington, New York, Maine, Texas and California filled our mailbox as Airstream lovers purchased a chance to win the RV while also supporting a great cause.
Friday the 13th turned into a lucky day for one family in Montana. On April 13, ticket No. 480, belonging to Craig McCollum, made its way into the hand of ADEC’s CEO and President Donna Belusar. When we called Craig to inform him of his ticket being picked, he was elated and said it was a longtime dream of his to own an Airstream.
We wish to thank Bob Martin, Thor Industries, Airstream, Vomela and Industrial Finishes for helping us throughout this journey. It has been exciting to see how a company based in our hometown makes so many dreams come true by producing Airstream trailers, and it has been a pleasure learning about the Airstream culture.
Our artist at ADEC have been tickled to learn that people from across the country have fallen in love with their special Airstream design. We’ve even received requests to purchase the decal – which, unfortunately, is not possible because it is one-of-a-kind, like everything at ADEC.