Ford Announces Salute To Dealers Award Winners Honoring Dealer Contributions to Their Communities


Salute To Dealers is a Ford Motor Company initiative that recognizes and honors Dealer Principals who have made an extraordinary commitment of their time and resources to help improve the lives of others by providing support for countless meaningful causes.

Now in its 22nd year, Salute To Dealers was founded by Edsel B. Ford II and is championed by Henry Ford III. “I am honored to recognize our dealers for all they do to support communities across the globe every day. They have made such a positive impact on our world and made it a better place while doing so,” Ford said.

This year, 60 Dealers from around the globe were nominated for the 22nd annual Salute To Dealers award. From this group, a panel of judges selected the Honorees based on the Dealer’s individual activities, length of participation and personal motivation. In recognition of the Honorees’ service to their communities, Ford created a Salute To Dealers Video Tribute, highlighting each Dealer’s extraordinary contributions. The video tribute is available to view here.

In further recognition, the honorees receive an exclusive painted portrait featuring a montage of their philanthropic efforts and involvement in their communities. Copies of the portraits will be on display in the Salute To Dealers display in the lobby of Ford’s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan for year-round viewing. Once again this year, Ford Motor Company Fund is donating $10,000, in the Honoree’s name, to a charity of their choice.

Ford’s 2022 awards recognize the following Dealers for their unparalleled generosity and commitment to their communities:


Richard T Collins AM
Jarvis Ford - Adelaide, Australia

Richard Collins’ selfless nature and drive to make the world a better place is evident in the extensive long term charitable outreach and financial contributions he provides to a myriad of causes both in Australia and internationally.

He is a principal sponsor and monthly donor to The Green Gecko Project, providing education and wide-ranging support services to communities and families in need in Cambodia, helping to break the cycle of poverty. Other examples of his charitable reach include support of a care center for the Orangutan Foundation International in Borneo, where he provides high-tech x-ray equipment and a high-powered generator to ensure the facility maintains permanent electricity, and his work with Koala Life Australia, raising funds to assist with the conservation and management of this threatened species. His support extends to a sports foundation that provides opportunities for disadvantaged communities across Australia ensuring that children, regardless of circumstances, have access to sports facilities, coaching and equipment.

Richard is currently in the process of creating a charitable foundation, with substantial funding, to ensure support for these causes continues for many years to come. Other support afforded to his local community, but not often publicized, include providing vehicles to families in need and giving important financial help to his employees and community members during difficult times. These random acts of kindness, and numerous other charitable endeavors, demonstrate a lifetime of commitment and personal service by Richard Collins AM to others, to his community and to the many international causes he supports.

Rob Gregory
Rochester Ford - Rochester, Minnesota

Rob Gregory is a dedicated leader and community advocate whose mission is comprised of six simple words – grow people, make friends and do good. He has nurtured a culture of giving with his employees, witnessed by their ongoing commitment and involvement in support of charitable causes in the community.

Strong leadership from his dealership team has freed time for Rob to focus on his passion, sitting on the Board of numerous non-profits and consulting with them to help them achieve their goals. His commitment is far reaching and includes extensive work with an addiction recovery service that restores hope to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. He plays an instrumental role in mentoring the agency’s director while providing ongoing financial support.

Rob also serves as an advisor to Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, a camp that provides no cost retreats for active-duty military veterans and their families and a wheelchair sports camp for individuals with physical disabilities. He is a major sponsor of annual events there. Ronald McDonald House Charities holds a special place in Rob’s heart, having worked there as a greeter, then serving on the Board and becoming a major sponsor of their annual fundraiser event each year.

These and countless other causes typify Rob Gregory’s and his employees’ commitment to the community and their compassion for helping those in need. The impact on his community has been immeasurable.

Francisco Mieres
Andrade La Viga - Mexico City, Mexico

Francisco Mieres is personally engaged with numerous social and educational initiatives centered on improving the quality of life for children and disadvantaged members of his community.

One of these initiatives focuses on providing food, housing, health and education services to children born to mothers who are imprisoned. In addition to providing them with the necessities for living, Mieres’s support of, and work with, his volunteer team has helped teach hundreds of children about values and family life. The goal is to eventually integrate them into society as productive citizens away from the crime and addictions from which they were rescued. Needing to ensure that the mothers, after their release, are equipped to properly care for the children, the volunteer team trains them on the nuances of societal reintegration and healthy parenting skills. This training not only serves the mothers but also contributes to strengthening the families of the volunteers, who are also dealership employees.

Mieres’s social improvement reach is far and wide. He has helped to expand preschool education for marginalized girls, provided digital classrooms for underprivileged students as well donating scholarships and continual job training workshops for the economically challenged. Francisco Mieres’s leadership, support and active involvement with these and many other social initiatives continue to provide much-needed hope and opportunity for those in need.

Vince Sheehy
Sheehy Auto Stores - Fairfax, Virginia

Vince Sheehy is committed to working tirelessly to enrich lives in the many communities his businesses touch. His spirit of giving and corporate citizenship inspires those throughout his dealerships to be strong and sustaining partners to the non-profit community.

Each year his organization conducts a 50-day dealership and community-wide effort that raises awareness and critical funds for the American Heart Association to help build healthier lives. In addition to contributing significant donations, Sheehy and his team spend countless hours preparing for and conducting this far-reaching and impactful initiative. Public service announcements, seminars, blood pressure screenings and CPR training are just a few of the many facets included.

Community involvement stretches to each of his dealerships where annually, each store makes a financial contribution to a charity of choice. These charities include homeless shelters, soup kitchens, Ronald McDonald House Charities and many others. Additionally, in December, each store is a drop off location for the Holiday Toy Drive.  Sheehy is also committed to fostering education. A foundation, started by his father, provides funds to schools with programs that support economically disadvantaged students and underserved communities. Realizing that education alone is not always enough, Sheehy has provided staff and funding for the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia to facilitate the release of wrongfully convicted individuals from prison.

Vince Sheehy genuinely cares for his community. Under his leadership, his employees have become advocates for kindness, evidenced by their enthusiasm for reaching out to help when needed. Sheehy’s own passion for helping others is remarkable, not only in the auto industry but in the countless lives he touches throughout his community.

Bess R. Wills-Avila
Gresham Ford - Gresham, Oregon

Bess Wills-Avila has a passion for the well-being of her community and local non-profit organizations, giving freely of her time and resources to a myriad of causes. She is personally involved in countless activities, touching education, health, safety, and other areas of critical importance to her community.

Numerous local schools, as well as the Gresham Barlow Education Foundation, have directly benefited from her support. She has been instrumental, along with other local businesses, in an annual Fill-A-Bag food drive for SnowCap Community Charities, a local non-profit organization created to provide food, clothing and advocacy to those in need. In addition to providing donations of food and funds, she has helped raise awareness of hunger and its effects in the community, showing that businesses can make a difference when they work together.

Bess is also an avid supporter of Gresham’s first responders, and an advocate of My Father’s House where homeless families are not separated. Through her dealership’s “Contribute to the Community” initiative, she donates a percentage of each customer’s service bill, and a fixed amount per vehicle sale, upon request, to the charity of the customer’s choice. Extremely active in the local Chamber of Commerce, Bess produces an annual Christmas Charity Breakfast where she writes a script, performs the skit, and pays for the actors’ costumes, with all proceeds going to a local charity.

Bess Wills-Avila’s kindness, generosity, and willingness to give of her time, ideas and resources make her an extraordinary asset to the Gresham community and an exemplary example for others.

Ye, Zaifu
Furui Auto Group - Beijing, China

Ye, Zaifu has an unwavering passion for his community, demonstrated by his generosity, commitment and active engagement in activities focused on improving the lives of others. He has donated significant funds toward education, medical care, poverty elimination, cultural heritage improvements and the environment.

Mr. Ye graduated from Xiamen University and deeply appreciates the role that education can play in changing the destinies of the people in his community, making a real difference in their lives. He sits on the board of the Wei Songshou Foundation, which he co-founded. The foundation provides those in underserved communities with access to scholarships and affordable education. As a frequent mentor and role model, he has inspired students to be socially responsible and encourages them to maximize their talents in pursuit of a brighter future. His contributions to the foundation have helped in many other ways, including funding for research initiatives and acknowledging teacher excellence.

Mr. Ye’s actions have led to the development of the Shouning Online Charity which is focused on improving education in his hometown. As a result, numerous scholarships have been established and thousands of deserving students have received assistance that would not exist if it weren’t for his contributions and dedication. His financial support also extends to several local universities and other educational institutions. Mr. Ye also helped establish the province’s first health development foundation providing needed medical equipment and funds for the construction of new facilities.

These and countless other charitable endeavors are prime examples of Ye, Zaifu’s passionate commitment to give back to society and help those in need.

View More