Manheim and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) presented the third annual Dealer’s Edge National Community Service Award to Freeman Motor Company of Portland, Ore., on June 26, during the 67th NIADA Convention and Expo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“Independent auto dealers who share their time, talent and resources to improve lives locally and globally deserve to be honored,” said Jay Cadigan, vice president of Industry Relations for Manheim. “Eric and Jenny Freeman of Freeman Motor Company, this year’s recipient of the Dealer’s Edge National Community Service Award, have embraced charitable giving and volunteerism to empower the lives of children and families through their tireless efforts.”
“We are so pleased to support their outstanding community spirit and partnerships and commend the Freemans and their team for their giving efforts both locally and beyond the borders of Oregon,” NIADA CEO Mike Linn said. “To reinforce its commitment to giving back, the dealership distinguished itself by employing a community coordinator whose full-time job is to seek out opportunities for service.”
Cadigan presented Freeman Motor Company with a check for $5,000 to be donated to Bridge Meadows, the dealership’s charity of choice. Bridge Meadows develops and sustains intergenerational neighborhoods for adoptive families of foster children to promote permanency, community and caring relationships, while offering safety and meaningful purpose in the daily lives of older adults.
The dealership’s president and founder, Eric Freeman, has made a personal commitment to make a difference, which served as the template for his employees.
Freeman Motor Company is involved with numerous local and diverse nonprofits. Among the charities it supports: Children’s Center, a child abuse assessment center; Remember Nhu, which works to prevent children from entering the sex trade industry; Jubilee Transitions Home, which provides housing for homeless men; and Toys for Tots.
In 2010, while visiting a resettlement camp in Kageyo, Rwanda, Freeman learned the remote village needed a vehicle to transport food, supplies and sick children through a harsh climate and challenging terrain. Bicycles and walking were the only modes of transportation for the community of 3,000 residents, which included 1,000 children.
Freeman launched a campaign that raised funds for a truck to deliver food and supplies and transport people for medical treatment. Freeman, who serves as executive secretary of the Oregon Independent Auto Dealers Association, remains involved with the needy village.
“Along with using his business to improve lives, Eric and his wife, Jenny, have also personally contributed nearly $20,000 to help with the development of Kageyo,” said Alan Hotchkiss, executive director of Africa New Life Ministries International, who was among those who nominated Freeman Motor Company. “These donations have been used to purchase food for children, hire well educated teachers for their schooling and drill clean water wells in their community.”
Three other dealerships were honored at the NIADA National Leadership Awards Banquet as finalists for their charitable efforts:
• The Car Store, Oklahoma City, Okla.
• City Auto Sales, Memphis Tenn.
• Alamo Valley Auto Sales, Kalamazoo, Mich.