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  Around ASA
Posted 2/15/2006
By B.J. Johnson

VOTE NOW

Elections for the 2006 Automotive Service Association (ASA) national board of directors are being held through Feb. 28, 2006. Not sure you know the candidates? Each candidate has a recorded message on the ASA Web site.

All regular members of ASA have the opportunity to cast their votes for candidates by calling a toll-free telephone number, or through a secure voting site accessed from ASA's home page (www.asashop.org). Whether voting by phone or via the Internet, ASA members will need their member number plus a three-digit security code to vote. These numbers can be found on the mailing labels of this issue and the December 2005 and January 2006 issues of AutoInc. The member number and security code are directly above the addressee's full name and enclosed by parentheses ( ).

One general director position and the positions of Collision Division director and Mechanical Division director are up for election this year.

All regular members in good standing with ASA are eligible to cast their vote for the position of ASA general director. Only a member of the Collision Division or the Mechanical Division can vote for the position of director of his or her respective division. Members were assigned to the appropriate division based on information provided by them when they joined the association.

For voting questions, please contact ASA at (800) 272-7467, ext. 213.

Q&A Profile with ASA Volunteers ... Benefits of Service

Who: Donald Seyfer, AAM, past chairman of ASA
Shop: Seyfer Automotive Inc.
Location: Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Question: What have you learned from your service that you would like others to know?
Answer: We are all connected one way or another. The manner in which we conduct our business affects the whole industry, perhaps in a very small way, but it affects it nonetheless.

Question: How has volunteer (board) service benefited you personally?
Answer: I have made many personal contacts. These contacts have been invaluable in providing assistance with all kinds of business needs and knowledge. I have a host of friends throughout the U.S.A.!

Question: Why would you recommend ASA volunteer leadership service to others?
Answer: It is a remarkable learning and growing experience. It needs to be taken with a complete commitment to the position. You will gain far more than you give as long as you keep the personal agenda low key.

Hurricane Roundup

Ongoing. Maybe that's the best way to sum up the Automotive Service Association's assistance efforts following the devastation left by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

First it was Katrina, in August. Then, in September, Rita. Both were powerful hurricanes.

Katrina, possibly the largest hurricane of its strength ever recorded, caused devastation far from the eye of the hurricane. It spawned heavy rains and tornadoes in the western Florida panhandle, western and north Georgia, the Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley regions, the eastern Great Lakes region and the length of the western Appalachians. It socked New Orleans big-time, putting most of the city under water. It also caused heavy damage on the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, making it the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States.

Rita was an even more powerful storm. But fortunately, Rita lost both hurricane and tropical storm status on the same day as it made landfall. Even so, it caused major reflooding in New Orleans and extensive damage in southwestern Louisiana and in southeast Texas.

The hurricanes caused hundreds of deaths, and more than 1.5 million were displaced - a humanitarian crisis on a scale unseen in the United States since the Great Depression.

Americans opened their hearts and pocketbooks to victims of the disasters. So did members and employees of the Automotive Service Association.

ASA's help included:

  • Association staffers manning phones, trying to contact members they felt might be affected, trying to determine their needs.
  • Employees in the national office making monetary contributions, which were matched by the association. And ASA encouraging members everywhere to do the same.
  • The contribution of resources by ASA's national headquarters to the hurricane relief effort.
  • Sending letters to 89 members in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, telling the recipients that their membership dues were free for one year.
  • Creation of a Web site (asashop. blogspot.com), which included links asking how help was needed, offers of help, a special section for affected members, a place to share their story, and a spot in which Web site visitors could post their comments, prayers and well wishes. The Web site is still open so please check it regularly to see what current needs may exist.
  • Registering with the Department of Homeland Security as a source for employment, trying to match the needs of those seeking employment with jobs posted.
  • The offer of special financing for shop owners affected by the hurricanes, including a reduced rate and no payments for six months, from the ASA credit union.
  • The offer of assistance from ASA benefit providers.

Many of these initiatives are still in place - as storm recovery will go on for years to come.

Maybe No One Did More Than Sheri Hamilton

ASA members and staffers donated money, food and clothing to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some shop owners offered jobs, even telling victims they would help them relocate.

Perhaps no one did more, though, than Sheri Hamilton, executive director of the ASA Missouri/Kansas affiliate.

Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Hamilton left her home in Kansas for Mississippi, where she served for three weeks as a Red Cross volunteer.

While in Mississippi, she managed a Red Cross financial assistance site for victims, who lined up and waited hours and hours on a concrete parking lot where temperatures soared to more than 100 degrees every day. No tents were available to protect people from the heat. There was no shade. The volunteers had to keep more than 2,500 people hydrated, fed, healthy and calm each day.

"Words and pictures cannot describe what I saw and experienced," says Hamilton. "I saw the best and the worst of humanity - both with the people we served and with the people who volunteered.

"Everyone's life has been changed - both victims and volunteers. The personal stories of tragedy and destruction are too many to include here." When she returned home, she created and coordinated "Project Joy," in which family, friends and ASA members were asked to donate items or cash to assist in purchasing items needed by the families. Leftover funds were divided and given to four needy families in the form of a gift certificate to purchase a Christmas dinner. The ASA-Kansas City chapter members helped wrap many of the gifts during their annual holiday party.

Then, Hamilton and her husband, Bob, and their two children drove to Mississippi to personally deliver the gifts to four needy families in time for the holidays. These were families that had no insurance and had not received help beyond the initial FEMA and Red Cross financial assistance.

For her efforts, Hamilton received ASA's Humanitarian Award at the Celebration of Excellence held this past Nov. 4 in Las Vegas, in conjunction with CARS and NACE.

"Her leadership and willingness to help is truly indicative of her character," said ASA Chairman Denny Kahler, AAM, in presenting her with the award.



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