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Published on July 2, 2007

Nominate a dealer humanitarian

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Opinion

AKRON (July 2, 2007) — It's that time of year again—time to nominate a deserving tire dealer or retreader for the Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award.


You have almost a month before the July 31 deadline, so if you're thinking about sending in a nomination, now would be a good time to start gathering the newspaper clippings, support letters and other materials that tell the story about your candidate.


Each year for the past 14 years, Tire Business has recognized a tire dealer or retreader who has made giving back to his or her community a part of everyday life.


You can say that these dealers do it to help their businesses grow and you would be partially right. There's no question that being involved in one's community can attract attention and customers. That might be what initially convinced these dealers to start volunteering.


But having interviewed most of the award recipients over the years, I can tell this spirit of helping others and supporting the local community is much more than a selfish act. Over time, volunteering, serving on boards, spearheading community projects and helping those in need become a passion, an integral part of one's life.


This point comes through loud and clear in talking with the winners—they do it because it's the right thing to do.


Take last year's Tire Dealer Humanitarian winner, Jon Shay of Main Tire Exchange in Dansville, N.Y.


A co-owner and vice president of Main Tire Exchange, Mr. Shay is totally immersed in his community of 6,000. “Jon doesn't know how to say no,” is how Debbie Schuyler, the dealership's credit and collection manager, described her boss's attitude toward community service.


That's why you'll see him co-chairing a multi-million-dollar fundraising effort for the local hospital, serving as a Junior Achievement teacher, umpiring a local Little League baseball game or helping set up a comfort care home for the terminally ill.


If there's a need, “Jon's attitude is always, 'How can we get it done,'” said William Bacon, president of the local chamber of commerce.


I'm sure many of you know someone in our industry like Jon Shay, or 2005 winner Steve Craven, of Craven Tire & Auto in Fairfax, Va., a volunteer pilot and president of Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic. That organization provides air transportation for patients with financial and medical needs.


Or perhaps someone like Joe Meares of United Tire Management in Indianapolis, TB's 2004 winner, who started the first father-specific Down syndrome organization in the U.S.


I know there are countless others in our industry doing similar good deeds, large and small, in their own communities.


You can honor them with a nomination for the Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award. Nomination forms can be found on the Web at www.tirebusiness.com/humanitarian or by calling (330) 865-6121.


In doing so, you not only will be recognizing a deserving humanitarian but reminding others of the importance of giving back.


Mr. Zielasko is editor and VP/publisher of Tire Business.

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