Many tire dealers derive a good living from their local community. Therefore, not only is it the right thing to do, but it's sound business practice for them to give something back to their community in return.
As a group, independent tire dealers have done much to better society.
Take the example of T.O. Haas, this year's recipient of the TIRE BUSINESS ``Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award,'' which recognizes the efforts and accomplishments of dealers working to make a positive impact on their own communities.
Mr. Haas, the 83-year-old founder of T.O. Haas Tire Co. Inc. in Lincoln, Neb., has a record of community service dating back to a successful campaign he led in the 1950s to change a railroad route that once divided the ciy and blocked emergency access to some areas.
Though he's retired, Mr. Haas remains active in community affairs as the dealership's ``goodwill ambassador,'' working to:
Direct elementary school children in planting and tending their own garden plots on land he provides;
Furnish ``K-9 trading cards'' featuring local police dogs and used by law enforcement officers as ``ice-breakers'' when talking with young people;
Impress youngsters on the importance of choosing friends wisely, working hard, having a neat appearance and being honest;
Promote adoption of pro-environmental policies; and
Formulate and gain passage of scrap tire legislation in Nebraska.
Yet Mr. Haas is only one of many independent tire dealers doing such important work. Previous Humanitarian Award winner, Philip ``Flip'' Smith of Flip's Tire Center in Van Nuys, Calif., for instance, organized a group of 300 businesses to clean up a dilapidated roadway in Los Angeles. The late L.P. Anderson, the first award winner, worked until his death raising money for a variety of worthy causes in Miles City, Mont.
Tire dealers everywhere should be proud of these individuals and the countless efforts they are making on behalf of others.