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Posted: April 12, 2014 3:53 p.m.

Dozens of Jeeps rally to raise funds

Bryan Fazio/

Dozens of Jeeps made their way form Winder to Covington's Ginn Chrysler dealership Saturday in support of Autism awareness.

Tara Simpson appreciated the work done for Toys for Tots runs and other rides to help good causes, and had a cause of her own she wanted to raise awareness for.

The Mansfield resident then set about making her thoughts a reality, using something that was plentiful to her and her family — Jeeps.

“My son is going for evaluation at the Marcus Autism Center and I thought it would be kind of cool (to have a ride),” Simpson said. “You see all the Jeep rides for Toys for Tots and other things, but never see anything for autism.

Simpson, who moved from Covington to Mansfield, in Jasper County, after a house fire in 2012, contacted Jeep dealerships in the area to help put together an autism benefit ride. Out of that Saturday’s Autism Benefit Ride, sponsored by the North Georgia Jeepers, was held from Winder to Covington was born.

Owners of about 60 Jeeps, including eight of the vehicles in Simpson’s family alone, signed up for the ride, with more joining the day of.

Each Jeep in the ride donated at least $10 — proceeds went to the Marcus Autism Center —, meeting for breakfast in Winder, and ending at Ginn in Covington, where the jeep dealer served up lunch. The route took the jeepers down Hwy. 11 to Hwy. 278, featuring jeeps of all models and years.

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