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'Honesty is part of her constitution'

One of the most talked about topics at the 23rd Annual Tamaqua Street Machine Association Car Show held Sunday at Heisler's Cloverleaf Dairy Bar had nothing to do with cars.

Instead, it centered on an act of honesty; the kind of act people say restores their faith in mankind.A woman walking with her husband discovered $500 lying in the grass on the car show field in the Lewistown Valley. She promptly turned it over to TSMA officials who were successful in finding the owner after making repeated announcements on the public address system.The good samaritan, Victoria Stahler, Tamaqua, was strolling along with husband Dale in the early afternoon and admiring the rows of antique and classic cars when a gleam on the ground caught her eye."I saw something in the grass. I just noticed it. It was a metal money clip," said Stahler. She reached down and picked it up and discovered a roll of $100 bills. Stahler secured the money and walked to the main tent where she turned her find over to Crissy Wertz, TSMA activities chairwoman.After a few announcements to the crowd, a frantic couple emerged from the car show and acurrately described the clip and the exact amount of money they had lost. The funds were then returned to them. The middle-aged couple was unavailable to be interviewed.Before they disappeared into the crowd, they hugged Stahler and insisted she accept a small reward, something Staher felt unnecessary. Stahler did not want a fuss made over her act of honesty and said she simply did what she feels others would do in the same situation. She said it's the right thing to do."If I lost money, I'd hope someone would turn it in," said Stahler, owner of Victoria Stahler's Day Care, Penn Street, Tamaqua. Stahler was raised to be an honest, law abiding citizen, something she tries to pass on to youngsters in her charge. "At my day care, I try to teach this to the children."Husband Dale said he wasn't surprised by his wife's display of honesty. He said he's been married to Victoria for 43 years and honesty is part of her constitution. "She's always considerate of others. And she puts up with me," he added.As for the car show, between 300 and 400 classics, antiques and muscle cars were spread out among a field measuring 700 feet by 400 feet along a gently sloping hillside. The show returned to Heisler's Dairy last year after a nine-year absence from the site. During that time, the show took place at Hometown Farmers Market, Route 54."We were talking about moving it back for a couple years," said TSMA President Mark Blasko. "This is where the show originated."Ralph DeAngelo of New England Valley was on hand to advertise for sale his '66 Sting Ray with a rare combination of silver exterior and blue interior. DeAngelo said he was glad to see a large turnout for the event."The show's come a long way," he said, noting that Heisler's Dairy always has been popular with car show attendees. "The people like the miniature golf, arcade and ice cream. It's so relaxing sitting out here with the view of the mountains."Some said they enjoy a leisurely day at the TSMA car show because it gives them an opportunity to admire the hard work put into the vehicles."I like the red '66 Mustang," commented Matt Hope, Tamaqua. Hope, owner of Hope's Collision and Towing, appreciates vehicles of all makes.One man said he came to shop."I'm looking for an old Chevy convertible, maybe a Cavalier, or maybe a Chrysler Sebring, said Frank Garenty of Lakeside. Garenty said he had owned a black '59 Corvette for 40 years, having purchased it after admiring one owned by the late Roy Ackerman, longtime photographer with the Tamaqua Evening Courier.Those showing their classic, antique and muscle cars said spectators offered abundant praise. Clarence "Beetle" McGeehan, Tamaqua, showed his '08 Shelby GT500, 5.4L supercharged Mustang. The 500-hp, six-speed muscle car drew plenty of comments."A lot of people said they like the color," noted McGeehan. The car features a rich blue metallic finish and wide white racing stripes.Participating in his first-ever car show, Scott Serfass, New Ringgold, was delighted when a woman in the crowd said that his freshly painted white '85 Monte Carlo Super Sport was the cleanest looking car at the show.A flea market area also was busy throughout the day."We're making a lot of contacts for the upcoming Pumpkin Patch," said Beaty Ann Schafer of East Weissport. Schafer was assisting at Troxell's Produce stand, where Indian corn, pumpkins, gourds, bales of hay and all things autumn were on sale.TSMA event organizers said they were pleased with the picture-perfect weather and strong turnout, especially considering that other major events were taking place nearby on the same day, including a popular craft show in Hometown and a Corvette show in Schuylkill Haven.Judges awarded multiple honors in each of 29 classes, along with a variety of special awards.

DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Attendees admire hundreds of cars at the TSMA Autumn Auto Show held at Heisler's Dairy Bar, Lewistown Valley. One visitor discovered $500 in cash nestled in the grass, leading to an act of honesty that touched those in attendance.