Cause for Celebration
The vice president of Beaman Toyota in Nashville, Tenn., was about to host a ceremony in which the dealership would make a $5,625 donation to the Special Olympics World Games and their local athlete.
And Eaden was sweating the arrival of a Kennedy.
“We were concerned about Tim Shriver’s plane getting to Nashville on time,” says Eaden. “It was supposed to get here at 9:43 a.m. The event was at 10:30 a.m. We were tracking it and our crowd was here and ready.”
As the Chairman of the Special Olympics and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, Shriver is a busy man. And that day, he was scheduled to speak at Beaman Toyota. His driver was supposed to call when the two connected at the airport, but as the start time of the event neared, Eaden hadn’t received word.
She called the Special Olympics people and they called Shriver’s office. Finally, word came down that Shriver was on his way. Turns out he had to join a conference call as soon as his plane landed. In the end, he made it on time and delivered a stirring speech touting this summer’s Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Besides working at Beaman Toyota, Eaden is also on the leadership council of the nearby Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.
Fifty years ago, Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, played a key role in opening the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. In 1968, Eunice founded the Special Olympics.
“We thought it would be a good idea if we could combine forces with the Kennedy Center,” Eaden says. So in a little bit of kismet, Shriver visited Beaman Toyota. “He was very personable and outgoing,” Eaden says. “He was very passionate about what he does to help people.”
The real guest of honor though was Special Olympics powerlifter Sharmane Pearson.
Part of the money raised by the dealership will help Pearson, her coach and supporters travel to the World Games in Los Angeles. The bulk of the donation came from proceeds of that day’s service department. The dealership also set up a donation box for customers and employees to contribute personally.
The Special Olympics provides a special kind of charitable opportunity. It doesn’t just help the community, it gives people a chance to live their dreams.
“Special Olympics is a way we can assist people that need assistance,” Eaden says. “It’s a chance for us to help athletes like Sharmane make it to the World Games.”