Special Coverage

NADA Convention & Exposition

LAS VEGAS – One honored auto dealer raises money for a domestic abuse center and an animal rescue shelter.

Another dealer aids local service troops overseas and their families, while also helping an autism organization.

Another, who has led the way for other women dealership owners, supports various causes for Latinos, children, college students and the elderly.

They are among 10 dealers (including two brothers) who are this year’s winners of Ford Motor Co.’s seventh annual Salute to Dealers, honoring commitment to community and support to worthy causes.

“These dealers’ efforts to improve the lives of those in their communities are inspiring,” says Edsel Ford II, a member of Ford’s board of directors. “They give of their time and money to hundreds of causes and set an example for others to do the same. We are very proud of them.”

Nominees this year were 71 dealers from 26 states and two countries. Eligible are dealer principals representing all Ford brands – Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Volvo, Mazda, Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Winners were honored at a Friday night reception at the 2007 National Automobile Dealers Assn.’s convention here. Portraits of each will join those of previous winners on display at Ford world headquarters in Dearborn, MI.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Randy and Michael Chapman, Chapman Auto Group, Philadelphia, PA, brothers who carry on the legacy of their father in business and community work, including causes that benefit children with special needs and breast cancer research.
  • Raymond J. Ciccolo, Boston Volvo Village, Boston, MA, a humanitarian who focuses his support on the underprivileged at home and abroad, as well as on adoption and people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Irma B. Elder, Elder Automotive Group, Troy, MI, and Tampa, FL, a beloved community activist who has paved the way for other women dealership owners while lending support to many causes that benefit Latinos, children, college students and the elderly.
  • Marie J. Fritts, Fritts Ford, Riverside, CA, who carries on her late husband’s anti-drug campaign as well as donating countless hours and resources to an animal shelter, law enforcement and health care for the local at-risk population.
  • Marty Giles, Northstar Ford Lincoln, Fort McMurray, AB, Canada, whose commitment to his community extends to youth, recreation, health care and leadership development.
  • Tim Razzari, Razzari Ford/Mazda, Merced, CA, a passionate community activist who puts his business and people skills to work raising money for a domestic abuse center, animal rescue, elementary school education and countless other organizations.
  • Paul Rusnak, RUSNAK Auto Group, Pasadena, CA, a long-time community supporter who helps make the wishes of sick children come true as well as contributes to the local children’s hospital, AIDS services, music performance groups and more.
  • Bruce Schindler, Bob Davidson Ford, Baltimore, MD, whose dealership provides materials and financial support to local troops overseas and their families, while he also supports an autism organization and a local school.
  • David C. Wintrode, Causeway Ford & Mercury, Manahawkin, NJ, who is dedicated to improving the lives of future generations through his work to promote literacy and enhance educational programs and opportunities.

A panel of judges picked honorees based on activities, length of participation and personal motivation. This year’s judges are:

  • Edsel Ford II.
  • Ford Motor Co. Vice President Sue Cischke.
  • Steve Finlay, editor, Ward’s Dealer Business.
  • David Sedgwick, editor, Automotive News.
  • Marc Stertz, executive director, NADA Publications.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com