News-Sun file photo by KATARA SIMMONS Bill Jarrett, seated here with his wife Lisa, is being honored today by Ford Motor Company as one of its six ÔSalute to Dealers Award' recipients. Chosen from more than 8,500 Ford and Lincoln delaers across the globe, Jarrett is being recognized for his philanthropic work.
published: Friday, February 08, 2013
Jarrett honored for his open heart and generosity
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- Bill Jarrett, who owns Bill Jarrett Ford on U. S. 27, is being honored with the Ford Motor Company's prestigious "Salute to Dealers Award" during a ceremony in Orlando today .
He is one of six Ford dealers among more than 8,500 Ford and Lincoln dealers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, Asia, Caribbean & Central America, Africa and the Middle East region, to be honored for his participation in and support of the local community.
Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford's board of directors, and three other judges selected winners from a total global field of 100 nominees. Community service activities, length of participation and personal motivation were the guiding criteria.
"This is a great honor," said the ever humble Jarrett. "Helping my community has always been incredibly important to my family and me. Being recognized is nothing I ever aspired for, but I hope it helps inspire others to get involved."
From coaching Little League to serving as a personal mentor to local youth over the years, Jarrett is a role model for making a difference in Highland county. He advocates, contributes and invests in youth charities, hunger relief and healthcare in particular.
Among the many activities that attracted the judges to Jarrett were the part he played chairing the team effort that created the $20 million South Florida State College's Performing Center for the Arts; his gift of the Blessed Beginnings Birthing Center at Florida Hospital Heartland Division, and his sponsorship and participation in several annual fundraisers.
"I don't know where to begin," said Donald Applequist, executive director of SFSC's Foundation. "Bill is one of the most generous individuals I've been privileged to know. He's made many financial contributions to the college for scholarships, athletics, and music, but more, he's given of himself, attended meetings, shared his wisdom, provided thoughtful input. He has been an asset to the community. I think it's tremendous that the Ford Company is honoring him."
Jarrett created and sponsors other community initiatives including the Drive One for Your Heart program, and encourages community service at his dealership throughout the year in food collection for local pantries as well as packaging meals for local shelters. His team also collects school supplies each year to donate to less fortunate students. In 2012, Jarrett donated seven iPads to Park Elementary School students who did not have computer access at home.
In addition, because Highland County did not have a hospice center, Jarrett contributed funds for the establishment of a new center for terminally ill patients and their families.
"Philanthropy simply means the love of mankind," said Tim Cook, CEO of Florida Hospital. "So many in our community have experienced in a real way the love and generosity of the Jarrett family. They live their love of this community consistently. Bill and Lisa have put their heart prints throughout this hospital. It would not be the same without their generous support and involvement. Florida Hospital is proud to congratulate Bill for this incredible honor!"
Jarrett's latest project is helping to organize and fund a three-year leadership and development pilot program called the "Leader in Me" in Avon Park's four public schools. The initiative is based on Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." The program focuses on developing students socially, emotionally, academically and ethically through character education, building cooperative relationships, and nurturing responsibility, kindness and good judgment.
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