Thanks to community members who purchased gas and other items at Pilot convenience stores, the 24th annual “Pilot Celebrity Pumpers” event raised a record-breaking $93,350 for the United Way of Greater Knoxville. The previous record of $90,400 was set in 2015.
From Oct. 10-12, 2016, local celebrities, including elected officials, media personalities and University of Tennessee sports figures, pumped gas and greeted customers to help Pilot raise funds for United Way. During the three-day event, Pilot donated five cents of every gallon of gas and 10 cents of every dollar spent in-store to United Way of Greater Knoxville’s 2016 campaign.
“The volunteer spirit is alive and well in East Tennessee,” said Jim Haslam II, founder and chairman of Pilot. “This event is a success because of the support of the community and our celebrity pumpers, who took time to visit our stores, pump gas and make purchases to benefit the United Way of Greater Knoxville. Thank you to everyone who helped make this donation possible.”
“Pilot Celebrity Pumpers” continues to be the organization’s single-largest special event fundraiser, helping United Way assist those most in need in our community. Since its inception, the special event has raised more than $1.2 million for the United Way of Greater Knoxville.
Celebrity pumpers distributed coupons for a free beverage during the event. Additionally, one lucky guest at each Pilot location and a few others using #pilotpumpers on social media won a $100 Pilot gas card.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett were among the celebrity pumpers, along with a host of Knoxville City Council and Knox County Commission members, school board members and media personalities. Well-known sports figures participating included Michael Annett, NASCAR driver for Pilot Flying J Racing; Holly Warlick, Lady Vols basketball head coach; and the UT Spirit Squad.
“Each year, we are amazed by the community support evident at ‘Pilot Celebrity Pumpers,’” United Way CEO Ben Landers said. “We are grateful to Pilot for sponsoring this event, to the celebrity pumpers who volunteered their time and to all the Pilot customers who participated. This donation will have a great impact on our community.”
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot operates 39 convenience stores in Tennessee.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero pumps gas for a customer while serving as a “celebrity pumper” at the Pilot convenience store on Chapman Highway on Oct. 12, 2016. This year, “Pilot Celebrity Pumpers” raised $93,350 for the United Way of Greater Knoxville. Photo submitted.