ANSWERING THE CALL
Dealer Principals, New Car Dealers Association of B.C.
If anyone doubts the commitment auto dealers have to their communities, they should talk to Richard Antonenko and his peers in flood-ravaged areas of British Columbia.
Antonenko is general manager of Murray Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, which is just a few blocks from the November floods that inundated Merritt, B.C., and many other sections of the lower mainland. Despite an evacuation order, Antonenko stayed behind to help with relief efforts.
He ferried supplies for emergency workers and pitched in wherever else he could. Now, his dealership is working to find replacements for residents who lost their vehicles in the flood. He calls it a “Merritt first” philosophy.
“We’re car guys,” said Antonenko. “We keep figuring things out.”
For B.C. residents, it has been a merciless year in which November’s heavy rains followed a summer of wildfires. Several dealership groups have responded with relief drives. The New Car Dealers Association of B.C. partnered with several other organizations, including the family behind the Wheaton Automotive Group, in a $1-million fundraising drive for flood victims.