Georgia Ports Police Lt. Jeremy Polston’s love of classic and custom cars is fueling community outreach in Liberty County.
Polston and his wife, Shannon, founded the Hinesville Horsepower Car Club and its monthly show, Hinesville Cars & Coffee four years ago. The show, which began as a small cruise-in at the Hinesville Dunkin Donuts, is now a much-anticipated event that supports various causes throughout the year.
Each month, the Polstons and other car aficionados raise funds for different organizations, including Reaching Milestones, a treatment program for autistic and special needs children. Polston said last April, the 3-hour event raised more than $500 for autism awareness.
“As the parents of two daughters, Shannon and I always want to help children,” Polston said.
Donations and raffles also regularly support K-9 Battle Buddies, an organization that trains rescue dogs to be service companions for veterans.
Polston, an Army veteran who owns two rescue dogs, said Battle Buddies is featured at every event. He said a large number of the local car enthusiast community are active duty and veteran service members.
In October, the club will host its annual trunk-or-treat, which Polston said draws thousands of children from Liberty County and the surrounding areas. Local businesses and private donations provide 10,000 Halloween eggs filled with candy to distribute to attendees.
The event has grown considerably since its inception, Polston said. The show now features more than 100 cars, trucks and motorcycles, drawing hundreds of spectators to the coffee shop’s parking lot. He said word-of-mouth and social media really helped the event take off and many local businesses also set up tents.
“It’s really wild,” Polston said. “It’s taken on a life of its own.”
The event also provides an outlet for Polston’s other passion, Star Wars. He frequently showcases a custom Stormtrooper-themed Ford Mustang, which prominently features hand-painted scenery of Darth Vader and his Imperial Forces on the underside of the hood.
Polston said registration is free, and there is no fee for spectators. He said the goal was to create a family-friendly event that benefited the community. Shannon is the district manager of Dunkin Donuts, and the company sponsors trophies for the winners.
Registrants can win one of 25 trophies, including special, custom awards such as Soldier’s Choice and Top Dog, which includes a representative from K-9 Battle Buddies in the award presentation. Each Cars & Coffee event features special guest judges, with children stepping in to choose winners in October.
“When you can get the community together, you can accomplish something incredible,” Polston said. “The success of this event is made possible by the support of every registrant, spectator, sponsor, vendor and business owner.”
This camaraderie was evident in September when the event was named Liberty County’s best community event in an annual Coastal Courier competition.
Cars & Coffee generally runs from 9 a.m. to noon on the last Saturday of the month, but the trunk-or-treat will be 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 27. For more information, visit Hinesville Cars & Coffee on Facebook and Instagram.