Tom Kelley pledges record donation to Burn Council
Care received during hospitalization for rare condition
prompts decision to help others
Fort Wayne-area business leader and sports legend Tom Kelley, president of Kelley Automotive Group, has made a record-breaking donation to the Burn Council of Northern Indiana. His $100,000 contribution was announced at the St. Joseph Regional Burn Center in downtown Fort Wayne, a location where Kelley recently spent eight days battling a rare and life-threatening condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome .
In acknowledgement of the specialized care he received at the center, and to help patients and families from across the tri-state region who are in need of support and assistance during and after treatment, the donation was presented to representatives of the Burn Council and the Burn Center.
"We cannot adequately express our gratitude to Mr. Kelley for this commitment,” said Chris Weidler, board president, Burn Council of Northern Indiana. “Not only will his gift be the largest in our 14-year history, but his generosity will go a long way in aiding burn prevention efforts and helping survivors get back to normal."
The St. Joseph Regional Burn Center celebrated its 41st anniversary in 2015. It is northeastern Indiana’s only verified burn center and one of only three in the state. The Burn Center is verified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association, a rare and elite distinction for a program offered outside of a university setting. The center provides adult and pediatric burn care.
The Burn Council of Northern Indiana is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that exists to help children, adults and families affected by a burn incident in northern Indiana, northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan. It accomplishes this by providing financial, in-kind and other assistance to survivors and their families. The Burn Council also operates the Burn Family Suites, a hospitality area devoted to families of patients being cared for at the St. Joseph Regional Burn Center.
Tom Kelley heads six auto dealerships throughout Fort Wayne and Decatur. He has worked for the family business since 1974. Kelley was also the owner of Kelley Racing in the Indy Racing League from 1998 to 2004 and a nine-time winner of the Fort Wayne men’s city golf championship. Kelley and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence were both honored in 2014 as Mad Anthonys Red Coat recipients. The Mad Anthonys is a charitable organization that has raised millions of dollars since 1957 for other charitable organizations in Fort Wayne.