Salute to Dealers
Edsel B. Ford II congratulates the 2011 Salute To Dealers Honorees
Left to right: Ronnie Watkins, Don and Cheryl Brenengen, Edsel B. Ford II, Paul E. Miller, Dr. Klaus Sorg, Philip Pfohe and Keith A. Kocourek.
Ford annually recognizes dealers’ outstanding contributions to their communities through its “Salute to Dealers” program. The program was established in 2001 to demonstrate our commitment to dealers who provide outstanding products and services and improve the lives of those in need. Dealers from our Ford and Lincoln brands, representing thousands of dealers across North America and Europe, were eligible to be nominated. This was the first year we honored European dealers.
Ford is very proud of the contributions made by the dealers who are nominated for this award and the 82 men and women who have been selected as Salute to Dealers honorees since the program’s inception. Considering the high quality and community spirit of our dealer body, this is a tribute to their hard work and dedication to make the world a better place.
Our 2011 awards recognized six dealer principals for their unparalleled generosity and commitment to their communities. They are:
- Don and Cheryl Brenengen, Brenengen Ford, Inc., Sparta, Wisconsin: Don and Cheryl Brenengen believe that they and their dealership should give back to the community at every available opportunity. One example is the Boys & Girls Club of West Salem. The Brenengens were the driving force that helped make the club a reality. They spearheaded fundraising efforts, were key financial contributors and worked hundreds of hours on-site to revamp a former medical clinic into a viable, positive place for kids. In addition, the Brenengens purchased land to donate for a nature parkway as well as 24 acres for a paved hiking and biking trail. They have also donated thousands of pounds of beef by raising cattle on their hobby farm, and have spearheaded food drives and fundraising efforts for numerous regional food pantries.
- Keith A. Kocourek, Kocourek Ford Lincoln, Wausau, Wisconsin: Keith Kocourek is dedicated to improving life for others of all ages. He and his wife have been actively involved as mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin for more than 20 years. (This program matches children in need with adult mentors.) Also, Mr. Kocourek organizes food drives at his dealership every year to support The Neighbors’ Place, a community organization that serves more than 1,200 families monthly. In addition, his love of flying is more than just a hobby. He is a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight Central, where he provides a valuable volunteer service by personally flying those in need to doctors’ appointments and other locations that otherwise would be inaccessible.
- Paul E. Miller, Paul Miller Ford, Lexington, Kentucky: Paul Miller’s deep-rooted commitment to his community has had a positive impact on countless lives in Lexington. The Paul Miller Foundation has contributed significantly to multiple scholarship funds that benefit students at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. The Miller family actively supports organizations such as the Kentucky Blood Center, United Way of the Bluegrass and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®. The family has been instrumental in the success of a local environmental initiative called “Reforest the Bluegrass” by donating more than 15,000 trees to be planted. Miller also donated critical financial support, vehicles and space to more than 7,000 volunteers for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, an event that brought renewed life and commerce to Lexington’s horse industry.
- Philip Pfohe and Hugo Pfohe, Moto-Pfohe, Hamburg, Germany, and Sofia, Bulgaria: Philip Pfohe has established a proven record of service in his region and is dedicated to supporting a number of important cultural and social causes. His financial support through Moto-Pfohe Conservation Grants is key to important archaeological research conducted at the historically significant Thracian Royal Residence site in the Kozi Gramady region, and to the protection and breeding of endangered land tortoises in the Dragoman, Kalogina, region. This work has also helped shift attitudes of local citizens to more actively support national heritage efforts and the preservation of nature. Mr. Pfohe has also been instrumental in supporting a kindergarten and secondary special education program for children with hearing disorders.
- Dr. Klaus Sorg, Edmund Sorg GmbH, Fulda, Germany: Dr. Klaus Sorg is a tireless advocate and supporter of numerous charities and causes in the communities in and around his Ford dealerships. His unwavering commitment to and support for the Caritas Workshop have given new hope and a feeling of self-worth to hundreds of disabled people in the region. The workshop provides important skills and job training, enabling participants to become meaningful contributors to society. Dr. Sorg also provides critical resources as well as his personal engagement with patients at Hospice Fulda, a local organization that provides humane and compassionate care to the terminally ill. Dr. Sorg credits his hundreds of dealership employees for their humanitarian involvement in their communities.
- Ronnie Watkins, Ronnie Watkins Ford, Gadsden, Alabama: Ronnie Watkins has committed himself to causes that benefit the greater good of his community. His real passion, however, lies in helping the many underprivileged children and their families in the area. He is a major contributor, with hands-on involvement, to the ESTEEM program (Encouraging Students to Exhibit Excellent Minds). Watkins is also a generous donor, and is involved in several ministries at the Meadowbrook Baptist Church, which directly helps people in his local community. His humanitarian efforts in Gadsden also include regularly ringing the bell for The Salvation Army and teaching a Bible class on Sundays.
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