What began as a labor of love nearly half a century ago remains one of the Ozarks’ best-kept, hidden treasures. This fall, the Plaster family will invite guests inside its unique, 500-plus automobile collection to raise funds for Mercy Kids.
“This is definitely not the kind of thing you can see every day,” said Steve Plaster, owner of Evergreen Historic Automobiles in Lebanon, Missouri. Since he was a young boy, Steve and his father, Bob Plaster, held a special connection through cars – from Duesenbergs to Cadillacs – and grew what is now one of the largest collections in the United States, featuring more than 200 manufacturers. “There are some very unique cars here. A lot of them are ‘one of one’ or ‘one of six’ or ‘one of three’ of their kind.”
Now the doors of the so-called “car barns” are swinging open. On Thursday, September 22, the Robert W. Plaster Foundation and Mercy Health Foundation Lebanon will co-host “Cars for Kids: An Evening of BBQ, Bourbon and Big Fun,” at the historic automobile collection to benefit the Mercy Kids and Babies campaign.
“We’re going full throttle to provide the very best for our smallest patients,” said Karen Simpson-Neasby, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation. “Whether they’re being born or they’re just waiting in the hospital to see grandma, they deserve to have a fun and inviting experience at Mercy.”
Proceeds from the “Cars for Kids” event will be steered to the hospital’s 10-room labor and delivery unit; it will receive new birthing beds, incubators, furnishings and comfortable seating for new mothers and their families. The project will also add newly-designed play areas in waiting rooms across the hospital.
“And we’re excited to green-light brand new transfer wagons at the hospital,” Simpson-Neasby said. “They will be shaped like fun animals, making the ride to surgery a little less scary for Mercy Kids. It’s because of the generosity of our community that we’re able to focus on those important details.”
Tickets are now on sale for “Cars for Kids, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 22, in the Dogwood Room banquet center on S. Missouri Highway 5. Following social time, sponsored by Missouri Eagle, tours will begin at 6:30 p.m. and a BBQ buffet will be served at 8 p.m. by Chef Carl of Touch and Flame restaurants. The Boswell Family and Independent Stave Company, which has a barrel production facility in Lebanon, will also be opening their private reserve for the occasion.
“We’re also delighted to announce Jason Pritchett, a finalist from America’s Got Talent, will be our entertainment that evening,” Simpson-Neasby said. “Jason and his band, The Steel Horses, are sure to be the icing on the cake.” They will take the stage around 9:15 p.m.
To RSVP for the Sept. 22 event, which has a limited number of seats, call 417-533-6009. The $200 ticket includes social time, tours, food and drinks, as well as entertainment. Sponsorships are also available. Guests will also receive a complimentary 5x7 photo next to one of the historic automobiles. Shuttle service will be provided from the parking lot of The Mall to the Dogwood Room.
“It’s always fun to help a good cause,” Plaster said. “Cars are the things that I love, and if we can have a fun evening and benefit kids who need help from such a great organization like Mercy, it’s a win-win.”
Click here for high resolution images of the collection, as well as Steve Plaster and his sister, Dr. Dolly Clement.