WEST PITTSTON — Drivers enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon along Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston were probably impressed when they passed by the West Side Auto Valero Gas Station and witnessed a lot full of meticulously shined Chevrolet Corvettes.
The cars were showcased by their proud owners, who are members of the Corvette Club of Northeast Pennsylvania, to raise funds for the West Pittston American Legion, Post 542, 1st. Lt. Jeffrey DePrimo post at the 10th annual Vettes for Vets.
Station owner and legion commander Ron Gitkos said the event brings in money that goes to local charities for veterans programs and youth services. The money raised is all used to fund a variety of programs throughout the year and helps foot the bill for the annual Memorial Day Parade that goes through West Pittston and neighboring boroughs, he said.
About 250 car fanciers visited to view the more than 50 Corvette models from the 1950s to 2014. Some were convertibles and others coupes, but all primped to perfection.
With V8 motors putting out up to 600 horsepower, they are sports cars with true muscle.
Visitors also participated in raffles, enjoyed grilled food donated by the owners of BBQ by Barry’s located nearby and spent the afternoon sharing their passion for the car that has been in production since 1953.
Everything for the event including the food, prizes, gifts and the manpower to serve the visitors was donated, Gitkos said. He thanked the owner of Barry’s and the dozen other local businesses for helping the legion.
Joe Lazzaro, president of the Corvette Club, said it takes a certain type of person to appreciate a well-made car like the Corvette.
“These cars have style and power,” Lazzaro said. “It’s a car-person thing. You have to be a car person to understand,” he added.
He looks forward to the newest Corvette to be introduced that boasts a 650 horsepower motor.
“They are America’s sports car,” he said.
Many of the club members have more than one Corvette, Lazzaro said. Some even drive them competitively where they can reach their top speeds.
Gitkos enjoys getting behind the wheel of Corvettes because of their excellent handling.
Overall, the event couples an appreciation for a great car with a good cause, Gitkos said. It also gives the legion a chance to make a plea for more young people to become involved in the American Legion.
He said anyone interested in becoming involved may contact him at 570-654-2261.