By Debbie Burt Myers
The Neshoba Central Rockets baseball team has a major fundraiser underway, thanks to “The Good Guys” at Griffis Motors who generously donated a new 2023 Jeep Compass valued at $35,000.
The baseball team, along with Bill and Wright Griffis and other fans, hope to sell 1,000 tickets for the raffle and raise $100,000 for improvements and additions to the baseball facilities.
Last year, the father-son Griffis duo decided to do something for the community.
“We discussed giving a car away,” Bill Griffis said, “so we began putting a $100 for every vehicle sold into a pot. That is how it came about.”
The Griffis considered several scenarios for the community project before eventually deciding on the baseball fundraiser. While only one person can win the car, the funds raised will benefit the school and future baseball teams and fans as well.
Bill Griffis was named Time Dealer of the Year last year. He accepted the award in Las Vegas and had an opportunity to talk to other dealership owners about their community projects.
“It’s amazing what automobile dealers give back to their communities,” he said. “We are a small dealership in a small town. What we do is pale in comparison to what some of these dealers do.”
For over 25 years, Griffis Motors has given a $1,000 scholarship to every employee’s child who goes to college.
They also hire high school students to work at the dealership.
Wright’s son, Sanders, plays on the Neshoba Central High School baseball team. What’s more, Wright is the on-field announcer for both baseball and football at Neshoba Central.
Wright Griffis said the winner would have the option to purchase another vehicle besides the compass.
“The $35,000 could go toward that vehicle,” he said.
The 42 players on the junior varsity and varsity teams are selling the tickets, which are $100 each.
Online payments for the raffle tickets can be made through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and on the school, baseball team and Griffis Motors’ social media pages.
The vehicle will be given away on April 15 during the last regular season home games against Southeast Lauderdale between the junior varsity and varsity games.
Neshoba County Superintendent Lundy Brantley was grateful for the donation.
“I would like to thank the Griffis family for their generosity,” he said. “The Griffis family is such a great supporter of all things Neshoba Central.”
Neshoba Central Baseball Coach Jonathan Jones is also very appreciative of Griffis Motors’ donation.
“I want to thank Griffis Motors and Wright and Bill Griffis for this donation to us,” Jones said. “It will help us out drastically. It’s funny, I’ve been coaching for 25 years and this is by far the biggest donation I’ve ever had at one time in my entire career.
“Words can’t express how grateful we are for this opportunity to do this,” Jones said.
The baseball team’s goal is to always work to improve their facility in some way, he said.
“The school has been very beneficial in helping us out but we also have to raise funds ourselves to improve the facility,” he said.
They recently turfed the mound and plate. Next year, they hope to do other big things.
“Our goal is to eventually turf the whole infield,” Coach Jones said. “We want to make our backstop like stadium seating. It just takes time. You can’t do it all at once.”
Jones said he would be “extremely ecstatic” to see 500 to 1,000 tickets sold.
“If we sell 1,000 or even 2,000 that would be awesome,” he said.