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How a car show "raced" new support in the fight to defeat ALS
An open letter from Tom Galt


Since 2016, I have been a supporter of our ALS community and the Golden West Chapter, along with my wife of 23 years, Tammy. Through the Chapter’s Walk to Defeat ALS events, I’ve met some of the most inspirational people I have ever known, including Navy veteran and former White House chef, Senior Chef Eric Amador, who has been living with ALS since 2014, and his amazing family.

As a husband, father, and business owner, I have been immensely moved by the many wonderful families facing ALS. I know first-hand what’s possible when you invite new people to join the fight against this devastating disease, who may not have had a direct connection otherwise. The key is to find common ground in the other areas of our life that our friends, family, neighbors and colleagues can get behind.

Now, I am a passionate car fanatic. So, in August of this year, I recruited everyone I knew to help me to launch and be part of the first annual “Burnout ALS Challenge and car show” for my Walk to Defeat ALS team! For my fellow car enthusiasts, this was more than enough to gather together on a Saturday to show off our cars, trucks, bicycles and do some burnouts! Their entry fee and extra car-participation fee would benefit my efforts to fuel the mission priorities of the Golden West Chapter.


One of the cars at the show was a truck that belonged to Jesus “Sarge” Salinas, a Marine Veteran, Fresno Police Officer, and fellow car fanatic, who was diagnosed with ALS in September of 2019. He passed away in July of 2020. His wife, Sara, also served as a Burnout ALS Challenge Committee member. A special portrait of Sarge was displayed on an easel alongside his beloved truck at the show. Many people who attended our event who never knew Sarge or much about ALS got to hear his story that day.


The participation for the car show exceeded my wildest expectations! We had 74 cars turnout. Each paid a minimum entry fee, and 16 of those paid an additional participation fee to do burnouts. We gave out trophies in several categories, including ”Best of Show.” Together, we raised more than $3,500 and, what’s most incredible is I recruited 22 new people to sign up for my team, who had previously never heard of ALS.

One of the most important goals in the fight to defeat ALS is recruiting new Walkers. So the first step is for you to join the 2021 Golden West Chapter Walk to Defeat ALS, and then login to your participant center to recruit others. It’s easy to do with this helpful "Join My Team" message template! It often takes more than a couple of asks, so keep that in mind when you reach out to others to join you in this important cause!

Whatever your passion may be, please don’t be afraid to get creative in the fight to defeat ALS. People will follow your lead and join your team if you show them a way. The most important first step is to ask. If you have a recruitment idea like mine but need some help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Golden West Chapter Walk staff member for support.

I have found motivation to rally support from the many families facing ALS, who will never give up fighting for the ones they love. I hope my story inspires you to action and to help recruit others to Burnout ALS!

Tom Galt
Team Captain, “Burnout ALS Challenge
Volunteer, Golden West Chapter