By Thomas Sellers Jr.
For almost a decade, every major, significant and meaningful event in Millington has had the fingerprint of Homer Skelton Ford Millington on it.
Most of the time a member of the staff or General Manager Randy Hart is present at fundraisers, galas, festivals or Millington Municipal School function. But last Tuesday it was Millington’s and the Mustangs of Memphis’s turn to come to the 9030 U.S. 51 North location to shine a spotlight on Homer Skelton Ford.
“We’re celebrating the 54th anniversary of the introduction of the Ford Mustang,” Mustangs of Memphis charter member Bill Cunningham said. “April 17, 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang to the New York’s World Fair to a lot of fanfare. Today we’ve visited all three Ford dealerships in Shelby County with Millington being the last one.”
Hart and staff rolled out the viral red carpet for about 20 mint-condition Mustangs.
“The Mustangs of Memphis is a great organization,” Hart said. “They have probably 50 to 60 members. Today they’ll bring 20 Mustangs up in here. They’re anywhere from a ’65 to 2018. It brings a lot of focus to Mustangs and we sell Mustangs. There will be a lot of folks seeing them and following them. Hopefully we’ll sell four or five cars because of it.”
Homer Skelton provided snacks and refreshments for the members as they parked their Mustangs and lifted the hoods for inspections. The Mustangs of Memphis officers were present with president Darrell Mims, vice president Rick Holland, secretary Doug Wesson and treasurer Mike Cunningham.
“We’re the Mustangs of Memphis Car Club,” Bill noted. “We were established in 1979. We’re one of the earliest local chapters of the Mustangs of America. We’re open to any enthusiast of the Ford Mustang.
“You don’t have to own one to be a club members,” he added. “You just have to be enthusiastic and like them. We have members with cars from 1965 all the way up to the present day.”
When the Mustang debuted in 1964, Ford sold 22,000 that first day. The Mustang is the longest continuously produced car in America. Mustangs of Memphis members will educate you on the history of the muscle car and raise money for the Memphis Oral for the Deaf.
The members donated $9,000 last year to the organization, totaling $53,800 since 2010. The Mustangs of Memphis also work alongside the Bartlett Exchange Club.
“The best part of being in an organization like this it’s the friendship you acquire through the years,” Bill added. “I’m a charter members, a founding member in 1979. I’ve known a lot of these people most of my life. It’s a great time and we have a lot of fun with the cars. If we’re not having fun with our cars, we’re doing something wrong.”
The crew at Homer Skelton had fun with the Mustangs of Memphis members. Hart said it was nice to have a chance to showcase Flag City to the group.
“Millington is a great community,” he said. “It’s a community that needs a lot of help. It’s got a lot of low-income people living here. It’s like I am on the school education foundation board. We’ll have a big rally June 7 to raise money for the schools and the school system. We give away like $14,000, $15,000 a year.
“Because what we’ve learned is all the teachers have the good stuff like paper and pencils,” Hart continued. “But they don’t get money for the extra stuff. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Millington Education Foundation. We try to help the community in the areas they need help.”
Homer Skelton Ford has been behind the scenes with the Millington Education Foundation and even served as the title sponsor of Flag City traditions like Goat Days.
“Goat Days is the only festival Millington has,” Hart said. “It was started by Babe Howard many years ago. It’s the only thing that brings people into Millington along with the USA Baseball Stadium and Millington International Raceway. Goat Days is a Millington thing.”
Goat Days takes place in the late summer at USA Stadium. Right now Homer Skelton is keeping busy with sponsorships of local golf tournaments throughout April, such as ones for Millington Area Chamber of Commerce, Fayette Cares and Millington Trojan Football.
“We try to spread our money out so we can give a little bit to everybody,” Hart said. “It’s good when you do stuff and see where the end results are. It’s like the Crisis Center and others. Everything we do, the people we do it for really appreciate it.”
Hart said Homer Skelton Ford will continue to be involved in Millington, but the business’s first priority is selling quality cars to the public.
“One thing Homer does, once you buy from us we take care of you after the sale,” he said. “It’s not just the sale. A lot places you go in and buy a car, two days later you’re gone. I’m going to make sure personally that I’m going to take care of you for the next 10 years.
“And I am going to take care of you, your kids, neighbors and everybody else,” Hart said. “I’m going to be back here in service, I’m going to be helping you get your stuff. That’s what community is all about.”
For more information about the Mustangs of Memphis, visit mustangsofmemphis.org. And for more information about Homer Skelton Ford, visit millingtonford.com or call (901) 872-1015.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.