There are few more noble professions in the modern world than being a first responder—a law enforcement officer, paramedic or fire fighter—dedicated to protect and serve during some of the worst moments of our lives. That’s why, as demonstrated below, automobile dealers across the country do not hesitate to partner with, support and recognize the valiant work that these men and women perform whenever the chance presents itself.
The 15-year-old son of slain Detroit police officer Loren Courts was given the keys to his very own “Batmobile” by Feldman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Woodhaven, Mich., in late July.
The Chevrolet Malibu’s nickname, Darian Courts said, is in tribute to his father, who they called “Batman.” His father was shot and killed in the line of duty on July 6 after a 19-year-old gunman ambushed him with a semi-automatic weapon. He was saving up to buy a car for his son’s sweet 16 in December.
“My dad had the same type of car and I thought it would be nice to have,” Darian says.
Darian’s car insurance is being covered by Detroit police and the Warthogs and Hired Guns motorcycle clubs. The car, which Darian hand-picked, was donated by the dealership.
In Houston, Miss., Eaton Chevrolet Buick GMC recently presented the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office with a police edition Dodge Charger to be used by the department’s School Resource Officer program.
Recently, as a school resource officer was driving from Vardaman to Pittsboro, his vehicle, a backup vehicle in the sheriff’s fleet, broke down.
“Those are the vehicles that have 200,000 miles on them. The second day on the job, one broke down and we had to have it towed in,” Sheriff Greg Pollan says.
Eaton saw a social media post by Sheriff Pollan talking about the need for vehicles for the SROs.
“We are the local dealer. What better way to support your local officers and school system. We got together and decided we needed to furnish them a vehicle and that’s what we’re doing,” Eaton says.
And this past winter and spring, Patriot Chevrolet Buick GMC made a donation for each vehicle it sold to support local fire departments in and around Ardmore, Okla. In May, eight fire departments were invited to collect checks for $3,000 each.
“You’re talking about a couple hundred bucks to fill up the engine right now; tankers cost even more than that,” says Lone Grove Fire Department chief Stacey Phelps.
For many of the fire departments, especially volunteer departments, funding comes almost exclusively through their own fundraisers.
“It means the world to us,” says Mansville volunteer fire fighter Elvis Cagle. “It is a big weight lifted off to know that they can help us like this.”
Gone to the Dogs
In April, Washington Auto Mall in Washington, Pa., helped purchase a police K9 for the South Strabane Township Police Department. Gary Flannery, executive manager of Washington Auto Mall, said they’ve had a long relationship with South Strabane police dating back to when the business opened in 2000.
“After the previous K9 passed away tragically, then police chief Drew Hilk called me and said, ‘Hey, we could use some help with a new dog,’” Flannery says. “He explained the details, and we said, ‘Absolutely, we’re all in.’”
The dealership paid for the full price of a new K9—$6,500. Reika, a 20-month-old Belgian Malinois, is now the police department’s newest employee.
Hometown Heroes Recognition
The North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association held one of its Hometown Heroes Awards Luncheons on October 4 to honor top law enforcement officers, paramedics and firefighters who serve the Rocky Mount, N.C., area.
NCADA started the Hometown Heroes Project several years ago with the objective of becoming a positive voice for North Carolina’s first responders for their courage and commitment to protecting their local towns and communities.
Neill Nelson, president of Davenport Autopark, was an emcee of the event. He says NCADA will host another Hometown Heroes luncheon in December in Durham to continue to honor first responders from around the state for their achievements, acts of courage and service to their communities. To date, the association has honored more than 300 “hometown heroes” at its statewide events.
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