Paul Masse and Mike Flood are among Rhode Island’s top automobile dealers. They’re also rivals in a maddening market that has been affected by a sluggish economy. Sunday, though, they teamed up for a common cause; one that could affect the well-being and education of inner city kids.
Masse and Flood had the largest display of vehicles at the third annual Bishop Hendricken High School Car Show Sunday in Warwick.
“Both their sons went here to school,” said Mike Benedetto, the show’s co-chairman and a computer science teacher. “Both Paul [Masse] and Mike [Flood] have really been supportive of this show and our school. They are always willing to help.”
Benedetto further explained that General Manager Bob Masse, who was on hand Sunday with 25 vehicles and a host of staffers, starred in football at Hendricken. He said Mike Flood was a baseball standout at the school. Flood’s dealership was represented at the show by GM Joe Cicchetti and a large delegation of staffers and vehicles.
“This was our third and largest show ever,” said Benedetto. The three-hour event featured 110 cars, char-broiled food and Doo-wop music that dozens upon dozens of people enjoyed while strolling around the sun-drenched grounds looking at the wide variety of vehicles. “There are lots of colorful and classic cars here today.”
Benedetto shared the cooking honors with co-chairman and former football coach Ron Mosca and Hendricken baseball coach Ed Holloway.
Show proceeds are used for a scholarship that Hendricken teachers use for a student for an inner city boy who strives to obtain a parochial school education.
“We run a [car] show every year and pick a different charity,” said Benedetto, who has long dabbled in motorcycles and has a 1996 Chevrolet Corvette. “This year we decided the money would be well spent going to the scholarship fund for a kid from a needy family. We award it to one boy who needs financial help.”
Last year, the car show proceeds – as well as other yearlong events – helped raise $100,000 for the Hendricken House that the school is building in Lima, Peru.
“We have our boys do missions out there,” Benedetto went on. “The boys go there twice a year. They volunteer to go to Peru and while they’re there, they help people in the area. We’re building that house so that our boys have a place to stay...”
Benedetto said students came up with the idea of a show as a fundraiser and it quickly got the thumbs-up from administration.
Benedetto attributed much of the show’s success, as far as classic and antique cars were concerned, to George Arakelian and his wife Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian, whose son George III is a freshman at Hendricken. “They came to us and said they wanted to help. They did a lot of work for setting things up.”
Bill Manchester, who brought his 1955 Chevy Bel Air to the show, took home the fist place trophy. Frank Acquino’s 1931 Ford Coupe took second place while third place went to Bob Goodwin’s 1940 Packard.