DEARBORN – Ford is recognizing its dealers who go above and beyond when it comes to giving back to their communities with its 12th annual Salute to Dealers award. Six dealerships were selected from among more than 8,500 Ford dealers worldwide for exhibiting unparalleled dedication to their communities.
The dealers receive the award today at a ceremony taking place at the Bellagio Hotel preceding the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention in Las Vegas, which begins Saturday, Feb. 4.
Salute to Dealers is conducted under the guidance of Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford’s board of directors. The program was launched in 2001 to demonstrate the company’s commitment to its thousands of dealer principals who step beyond their showroom doors to make a difference in the communities where they live and work.
“We are so proud of all of our dealers who reach out to their communities and make a difference. The winners of this award are the ones who absolutely shine,” said Ford. “Each and every one deserves the recognition they have received today.”
Edsel B. Ford II and three other judges selected winners from a total global field of 100 nominees located in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Europe, Mexico and Asia based on community service activities, length of participation and personal motivation.
A painted portrait of each honoree will have a montage of philanthropic and volunteer activities that led to the award. Duplicates of the portraits will join a Salute to Dealers display in the lobby of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., for year-round viewing.
The winners include:
Alton Blakley Ford Lincoln
Alton Blakley of Somerset, Ky., focuses on improving the lives and quality of life for Somerset-area residents. Blakley’s efforts are demonstrated through his time and monetary investments, including financial support to the Somerset Pulaski County School monthly, as well as through his work with the school to ensure its needs are met. In addition, Blakley has served as a mentor through the Kids Hope Mentoring program and volunteered for the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children organization.
John Bergstrom of Neenah, Wis., is a major contributor to his community, and his involvement ranges from the United Way, Boys and Girls Club and Make-A-Wish Foundation to the support of educational institutions, including Marquette University. Bergstrom is not only one of the largest contributors to several high-profile national charitable organizations, but he is also a steady contributor to hundreds of community causes, including the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, which he championed the building of for more than two years.
Gus Machado Ford
Gus Machado of Hialeah, Fla., is one of three North American winners. The list of Machado’s community activities is extensive in scope, but his major focus has been on increasing health and education awareness in the Miami area. Machado created the Gus Machado Family Foundation with the purpose of contributing to local and national organizations that promote cancer research, healthy living and youth education. The dealer also hosts back-to-school community fairs that provide more than 400 children with backpacks full of school supplies, as well as providing immunizations and children identification cards.
Shanxi Dachang Automobile Ltd. Company
Sun Qingping, owner of Shanxi Dachang Automobile Ltd. Company, has organized a number of projects to support local community development and environmental protection in China. An active supporter of China’s Project Hope since 1999, Sun and her team have supported the construction of two primary schools in two low-income communities in Lvliang and Lifen, China. Environmental protection is another priority for Sun. In 2005 she and her team began a reforestation project in a 2,000-square-meter area in Taiyuan Xishan Mountain. The dealer has donated RMB 500,000 (U.S. $79,157) every year to support conservation projects in the Taihang Shan Mountains.
Oscar and Fernando Villanueva of the Dominican Republic have been outstanding supporters of their community. They founded the Love Me As I Am foundation, which reaches out to individuals living with Down syndrome. The association supported the Dominican Association of Down Syndrome by donating the funds necessary to finish a new office in Santo Domingo and sponsor a physical training program in a local gym. They also supported the Special Olympics Dominican Republic by donating half the funds needed to attend the World Special Olympics.
Winner Imports Ukraine
John Hynanksy of Ukraine has offered tireless support of children’s causes and community development in Ukraine. John dedicates much of his support to Hope and Homes for Children in Ukraine by financing furnishings for a community center and a children’s outdoor activity center, as well as launching a fund-raising initiative to engage the community’s support. He also contributed toward the purchase of medical incubators to support premature children born in villages throughout Ukraine and helped develop youth athletic programs by donating to Ukrainian Sports Federation of the USA and Canada.