Meet a Ford Dealer Who is Transforming His Community

Bill Jarrett was born in Florida, and it’s where his dealership, Bill Jarrett Ford, is based. You could call him a celebrity in his town of Avon Park, although not because he’s on the silver screen or from having his own TV reality show. And it’s also not because he seeks the spotlight. It’s for what he does to make a difference in the lives of so many people, especially when it comes to children.

Bill has been a Ford dealer for more than 30 years, and community is just as important to him as his customers are. He has been generous to hospitals, schools and charities, including developing a new Performance Arts Center at South Florida State College and helping with an addition to the Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center: the Jarrett Family Blessed Beginnings Birthing Center.

He’s also an advocate of the Leader in Me educational program, which is being implemented by Highlands County School District, the first in the nation. “Children are learning how to accept responsibility and be proactive for themselves and their community. Parents have come back asking, ‘What have you done to my child?’” explained Bill. “It’s so gratifying to watch them grow and change for the better.” Based on Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the Leader in Me pilot program is teaching children how to reach their goals; quite a powerful tool to add to the curriculum for students in kindergarten through high school. Helping today’s youth prepare for their future is a passion of Bill’s. “I love watching children experience their own greatness and go to levels they never dreamed they could,” he said.

In addition, Bill advocates, contributes and invests in youth charities and hunger relief, and spends numerous hours in leadership and fundraising activities. He also created and sponsors other community initiatives, including the Drive One for Your Heart program. He encourages community service at his dealership throughout the year in food collection for local pantries as well as packaging meals for local shelters.

The Salute to Dealers awards recognize dealers who go above and beyond when it comes to giving back to their communities. Six dealers were selected from among more than 8,500 Ford dealers worldwide for exhibiting unparalleled giving, dedication and leadership to their communities. Salute to Dealers began in 2001; judges include Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors.

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