Individuals giving back to their communities in a big way receive new vehicles from Mazda.
For its 100th anniversary celebration, Mazda announced back in October it would gift fifty new MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition vehicles to pandemic frontliners who “tirelessly dedicated themselves to their communities throughout 2020 through selfless acts, creative thinking and contributions to community.” The car company received 1,000 nominations across the U.S., telling aspiring tales of Madza’s core value of “omotenashi,” or putting other’s needs first. From the submissions, they made their final selections.
“This year has been full of challenges and we wanted to lean into our brand’s heritage of finding innovative ways to brighten people’s lives,” The company’s North America President Jeff Guyton said. “We were inspired to create the Mazda Heroes program to honor all those who are working tirelessly to uplift their own communities. We hope through Mazda’s acknowledgment of their efforts, they’ll feel empowered to continue to give back to those around them.”
The winners came from a diverse pool of candidates working tirelessly to care for others during these unprecedented times. All applicants had been doing amazing things for others. Guyton explained they received letters lifting up heroes who were delivering groceries, donating free meals to healthcare employees, frontline health care workers themselves, and more. A musician who created curbside concerts for a quarantined senior community was also selected.
Here are some of the heartwarming stories of the contest’s pandemic frontliners:
Jason Erdreich of Randolph, New Jersey, used his talents as a shop teacher and coordinator for a freight company to create 12,000 pieces of PPE for medical workers using 3-D printers. Elieson’s wife Lindsey had nominated him, saying, “Despite being a hero to all these other people, my husband still makes time to spend with us, making him our hero, too.”
“I was getting lots of articles of other people who were printing PPE, specifically a lot of face shields,” Elieson said. “And I was getting lots of requests for people who wanted me to design PPE specific to their job and work conditions.”
Triana Davis, a teacher in Byram, Mississippi, hand-delivered custom curricula, t-shirts, goodie bags, and medals to her students, contract-free, to make them feel more connected.
Christie Purviance, an ICU nurse in The Woodlands, Texas, worked 15-hour days, ensuring she kept her patients spirits up by giving them positive affirmations on stickies and sharing photos with family members who couldn’t visit.
Leandro de Araujo Pessoa of Lansing, Michigan, became unemployed amid lockdown and decided to use his time to help coordinate a food pantry at a church. He donated part of his unemployment to keep the pantry running.
Michael Star Thompson of Georgetown, Kentucky, leads a Bible study and cleans bathrooms at a homeless shelter. As a football coach, he also started a camp where he now works with students one-on-one to avoid virus exposure and uses the proceeds to fund a local learning center.
Guyton was impressed with all of great things these pandemic frontliners were doing, saying, “We hope through Mazda’s acknowledgment of their efforts, they’ll feel empowered to continue to give back to those around them.”