Work family joins in Tew’s fight

Work family joins in Tew’s fight

Members of Performance Ford sport their Team Genia T-shirts during Veggies for Vets on Memorial Day.

Courtesy Photo

Members at Performance Ford have banded together in an effort to help one of their own, Eugenia Tew, who is suffering from cancer. With an emphasis on treating co-workers as family, Tew’s work family have worked tirelessly to raise funds to support her.

Tew is a receptionist at Performance Ford living with stage 4 cancer in her liver, lungs and colon. With stacks of doctor visits for chemotherapy and the recovery that necessitates, she’s been unable to work. This sparked a series of fundraisers by her colleagues, all proceeds going to Tew, to help her through a trying time.

On May 27, there was Team Genia’s Pork Butt Sale held at the dealership by the Salemburg-based Grateful Shed. During the event, they cooked and sold Boston Butts for $50 to begin raising money for Tew — in all, 200 pork butts were sold.

The sale of $3 bracelets at Ford and Performance Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (CDJR) has also been ongoing, with each bracelet inscribed with the inspirational message of “Choose Hope, Together we fight for Genia.”

Employees of Performance Ford are also conducting an old sneaker drive as well, in which they’re asking people around the community to bring in their old sneakers to the dealership. Those gathered will be given to GotSneakers, a sneaker recycling organization, which pays for each donated pair. Those funds will go directly to Tew.

Even during the Memorial Day holiday, Tew’s Ford family didn’t relax in their fundraising efforts. Grateful Shed teamed up with Off-Road Outreach, a homeless veterans outreach organization, for their “Veggies For Vets” event at the Harley Davidson dealership in Fayetteville.

Along with cooking, they sold T-shirts for $20 that read “Team Genia” across the back, a giant purple cancer relief logo accompanying it.

When talking about doing all this for Tew, her family at work thought little of it, speaking highly of her and pointing out that this was just them caring for a family member.

“It’s as I always say, ‘If you work here, then you’re a member of the family’ and we take care of our family here,” said Terry Lee, general manager at Performance Ford. “I’ve always felt like we were called for a higher purpose. We are not just about selling cars and profit at Ford, it’s all about taking care of folks and touching people’s lives like Genia’s.”

Lee, who is also a member of Grateful Shed, said this was about helping Tew.

“Again everything we do goes back to helping people,” said Lee of his role as one of the “Shedheads” in the Grateful Shed. “We really are like a ministry here and things like this is just what we do.”

“She smiles all the time, Genia is a truly wonderful person that’s always happy and helping out others when she can,” said Victoria “Rusty” Hitzman, marketing director for Performance Automotive. “Her smile is just inspiring — it’s a picture of courage and faith in God.”

“We are all close and a family here so it’s natural for us to help Genia, who does so much for others,”Hitzman continued. “If you walk into one of our conference rooms, you’ll see our motto of ‘It’s not about selling cars, it’s about making a difference.’ And, that’s just what we’re doing to help out a member of our family.”

On top of dealing with a tough illness and being unable to work, Tew is also a widow who does more than just working for herself. Her job provides a roof not only over her head, but her daughter’s and her two children along with her sister and her son’s, all of whom are in need of support after Tew’s diagnosis.

When addressing everything her Ford family has done in giving her that support, Tew couldn’t help but tear up when expressing her gratitude.

“I’m so honored, thankful and humbled by everything that they have done for me,” Tew said with a cracking voice. “I work with the most amazing people and at the most wonderful place in the world. I know without a doubt that God led me to Ford so that all of them would be my family.”

“I always say that God brings people into your lives for one of three things, a reason, a season or for a lifetime. Coming to Ford was my reason and now they’re stuck with me for a lifetime.”

The fundraising doesn’t end there. Donations are also being accepted on behalf of Tew as she continues battling through her ongoing radiations and surgery. To donate, visit one of Performance’s two locations in Clinton — Performance Ford, 213 Southeast Blvd., Clinton, or CDJR, 605 Warsaw Road, Clinton, as well as State Employees Credit Union, 221 North Blvd., Clinton.

Reach Michael B. Hardison at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter @SampsonInd. and like us on Facebook.

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