Gary and Vickye Mills just wanted to help a good cause.
Now, thanks to Tim Duncan and BlackJack Speed Shop, they’ll be riding around in a car fit for a comic book hero.
Duncan combined his love of comics and cars to raise money for charity this year, and the result was a raffle for a “The Punisher” themed car.
The Tim Duncan Foundation, along with Blackjack Speed Shop, raised $60,000 for local non-profit Childsafe through a raffle, and before the Spurs faced Minnesota on Monday, Duncan presented Childsafe with the donation and raffle winners Gary and Vickye Mills with the deed to the car.
Childsafe, the only children’s advocacy center in Bexar County, provides services to children who have been physically and sexually abused.
“Child abuse is a community problem in San Antonio,” said Childsafe CEO Kim Abernethy. “Unless the community wraps its arms around a problem like this, it’s not going to go away. Having people like Tim Duncan stand up to help has a huge impact.”
When the Mills family found out about Childsafe and the cause of the raffle, Gary Mills said they wanted to give as much as they could. They bought about $20,000 worth of raffle tickets.
Vickye won the raffle, but couldn’t attend Monday’s game. She’s been fighting colon cancer for the past six years and had a recent setback.
“Honestly, giving to Childsafe means more than anything,” Gary Mills said. “I never imagined we’d win the car, but I guess our odds were pretty good. It’s been a tough year for us personally, but this brought a big smile to Vickye’s face.”
There were 5,434 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect in Bexar County in 2014 and 12 child fatalities. The vast majority of child abuse cases are not reported.
Childsafe provides specialized services to children who have been physically and sexually abused and their non-offending family members. Childsafe served more than 4,300 in Bexar County last year - both children and their family members. ChildSafe also works closely with prosecution, law enforcement, and child protection services to help bring perpetrators to justice.
San Antonians might know Childsafe through Cardboard Kids, the 20,000 cardboard figures the organization placed around the city last April for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“Bexar County has the highest rate of child abuse per capita in Texas and these children are suffering through major trauma,” Abernethy said. “This donation will go a long way to treating children and hopefully this brings awareness to a serious issue in Bexar County.”
The car, a 2013 Dodge Challenger R/T was donated to the Tim Duncan Foundation by GUNN Automotive Group and turned over to Duncan’s BlackJack Speed Shop for customization. It features full custom matte wrap, crash bars and LED lights. The dashboard is signed by Duncan, “The Punisher” publisher Stan Lee and artist Mike Choi.
Duncan, who has the Punisher logo on his knee brace, also appeared on a cover of the Marvel comic last year along with the car. The cover, drawn by San Antonio artist Choi, shows Duncan handing the keys over to the hero, Frank Castle.
On Monday, Duncan handed the keys to Mills with a worthy cause in mind.
“We wanted this raffle to raise awareness about child abuse in Bexar County,” said Blackjack Speed Shop’s Jason Pena. “It’s a topic people don’t want to talk about, but it’s happening. We have to do what we can to stop it.”