Raffle tickets on sale for classic Firebird restored by priest

GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – A group in this New Mexico city loves restoring muscle cars to pristine condition to help send students to seminary.

The leader of the group has had a passion for cars since he was a teen, and once again, he’s embarking on a project that raises money so students can attend seminary. It also gives the public a chance to win a restored muscle car.

Matthew Keller has his day job. In fact, he’s Father Matthew Keller, a priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral and the Vicar General of the Diocese of Gallup.

With his hobby, he doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty in the garage located behind the cathedral.

“It brings you happiness,” he said. “I look at it as a really healthy outlet for me, a creative outlet,” Keller explained.

“I’ve always been able to kind make a spiritual connection in restoration,” he said.

Last year, he and a team of volunteers from Gallup spent months restoring a 1972 Chevy Chevelle. It was raffled off and raised $140,000 to help five local students attend seminary.

“In the Chevelle, we wanted to show off the muscle of that car,” Keller said.

Now they’re working to revamp a 1969 Pontiac Firebird convertible, and you have a chance to win it through the V8s for Vocations online raffle.

“It’s beautiful. It’s a fun car. It’s a sporty car. But it’s a classic,” he said.

The car only has 79,000 miles.

Raffle tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online. The drawing will take place on Saturday, June 17 in Gallup.



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