Each year, Tire Business solicits nominations for the Tire Dealer Humanitarian award. An independent panel sifts through the candidates and selects the winner.
The list always is impressive, but more so, it's heartwarming. How can you not feel good to learn about people in the tire industry making their communities better?
The nominees are usually on the extreme side of charitable giving, going so far above and beyond that it is evident their journey had become a passion project. Our 2020 winner, Rodrigo Valle Hernandez, for example, raised more than $3.5 million through his foundation to support more than 15 charities.
This year's winner is no different.
What seems to set Ron Katz of West Palm Beach, Fla. — who co-owns three Midas franchises in Florida — apart from others is his personal touch.
Mr. Katz likes to get deeply involved in his charitable endeavors. He's held community vaccine and blood-donation drives. He and his crew at Midas of West Palm Beach refurbished a van for the local Sickle Cell Foundation.
"When you give, you don't expect to get anything back. You're doing it because you're doing it out of the goodness of your heart. That's exactly how it is," he told Tire Business editor Don Detore.
Here's just one example: He reached out to a Rod Stewart impersonator, George Orr and the Hot Rod Band, of whom he was a fan and followed on LinkedIn. Mr. Katz learned Mr. Orr's wife Kelly, who also is in the band, was battling esophageal cancer, and the couple was struggling to pay medical bills.
Though he didn't know them personally, Mr. Katz asked if he could put together a benefit to help. They raised $10,000.
We congratulate Mr. Katz on this well-deserved honor. And we'd also like to thank all of those people in Mr. Katz' orbit — employees, friends and family — who made the charitable work a team sport.
Their selflessness should serve as inspiration for all of us that if we open our eyes and pay attention, if we take that extra step and time to be active, it's easy to make the world a better place.
Plus, what is good for the community is good for business. This isn't news to tire dealers, who go out of their way to try and better the place where they operate their businesses. Of course, just by operating your business, tire dealers are doing good for their community.
Independent-owned tire dealerships dot the landscape in every town in America, and the owners of those shops make real connections with customers. They know that in their community, word gets out fast. If you are offering a pleasant experience, technically sound work and reasonable prices, your customers will tell their friends. Being good at your job is good community.
Tire dealers are employing people and offering the cities and towns they operate in a reliable business — many "have been around forever." That's good community, too.
The reach of our industry is so vast, genuine and personal that it carries with it the power for positive change. We encourage anyone who has ever thought, "You know, I'd like to do something to give back," to take that next step.