By: Sharon Aron Baron
The Johnson family wanted to do anything they could to help their next door neighbors who had just lost their daughter to a school shooter.
Fourteen-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was Matt and Stacey Johnson’s only babysitter, and they all loved her. “She was perfect. She would bring the children arts and crafts to play with and snuggle with them in bed.”
After Alyssa died, Matt explained how gut-wrenching it was to explain to their children ages 8 and 12 that Alyssa would no longer be with them. “We loved her to death and my children adored her.”
Since Alyssa’s death, her mother Lori Alhadeff has founded the nonprofit “Make Schools Safe” and filed to run for school board in November.
Make Schools Safe will use auction proceeds and donations to introduce new safety measures at schools beginning in South Florida and spreading nationwide. One such safety measure is to establish “Safe Zones.” Safe Zones are a defined mustering area where students and faculty are trained to immediately retreat to in an emergency situation, like an active shooter. These safe zones are hardened and equipped with “Stop the Bleed Kits.” The location of Safe Zones will be part of every student, faculty, and staff’s safety orientation and part of the regular safety training conducted throughout the school year.
“If Alyssa was empowered with knowing where a safe zone was, she would have run there,” said Alhadeff. ” Schools need safe zones now. This auction can help us with that goal.”
After the school shooting, the Johnsons knew they needed to help and support Lori and her husband Ilan. A car collector and driving enthusiast who owns several cars, Matt wanted to do his part to help raise money for the nonprofit, by auctioning off one of his own.
He decided on his classic 1990 Porsche 944s2. This was the same Porsche that Jake Ryan drove in “Sixteen Candles.” He said that last Halloween, both he and his wife dressed up as Jake and Samantha from the movie, driving around their Parkland neighborhood with the song “If You Were Here” by the Thompson Twins playing from the speakers.
Giving away one of his prized possessions isn’t that big of a deal to Matt. “In my mind this is just giving away a thing. This [school shooting] hit everybody. We just know we needed to help in any way possible.”
Originally from Chicago both Matt and Stacey moved to Parkland in 2015. He works for Bluvision, a security company that is part of HID Global. “We love everything about Parkland, the community, the schools. Best decision we ever made.”
This Porsche has 150,000 miles and is in excellent condition he said. It’s been garage-kept and maintained by a mechanic and is number 363 of only 450 that was imported into North America. The auction will only be for one week.
“I’m not looking to get the maximum, but I know it should get about $20,000. It all depends what the market wants,” said Matt. “That’s what’s hard about classic cars.”