Selkirk auto dealer rid­ing for a great cause

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - AUTOS -

STEEL­TOWN Ford dealer prin­ci­pal Ja­son Sar­gent is get­ting geared up for the an­nual Ride for Re­hab, a snow­mo­bile ride in mem­ory of his late brother, Scott. The ride is sched­uled for Feb. 18 to 21 and raises money for the Chil­dren’s Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Foun­da­tion.

“Scott (who passed away in 2004) loved snow­mo­bil­ing and chil­dren,” said Ja­son Sar­gent. “This year’s route will take my son Owen and I, my best friend, Troy, as well as other friends and rid­ers on two full days of sled­ding ad­ven­tures on the pris­tine trails of the Rid­ing Moun­tain Na­tional Park.”

Rid­ers, he says, are re­spon­si­ble for all costs in­volved in the trip. Sar­gent added the ride pro­motes a re­spon­si­ble and healthy im­age for snow­mo­bil­ers while sup­port­ing spe­cial needs chil­dren in Man­i­toba.

The Chil­dren’s Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre is Man­i­toba’s main core ser­vice for more than 15,000 chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. The cen­tre as­sists chil­dren with spe­cial needs such as mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, cere­bral palsy, autism, am­pu­ta­tions, spina bi­fida, sco­l­io­sis, FASD and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, neu­ro­log­i­cal, feed­ing and bone dis­or­ders to name a few.

Funds raised from the ride are used to pur­chase cus­tom­ized equip­ment needed by th­ese chil­dren so they can live with greater in­de­pen­dence and abil­ity. Some of the equip­ment pur­chased in the past in­cludes light-weight wheel­chairs, wheel­chair cush­ions, com­mu­ni­ca­tion devices, com­put­ers with cus­tom ac­cess con­trols, cus­tom­ized bikes that en­able chil­dren to get out of their wheel chairs and more.

“All do­na­tions we raise will be do­nated to the Chil­dren’s Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Foun­da­tion in the mem­ory of Scott and will be spent on chil­dren in need in the Selkirk, St An­drews, Birds Hill, Stonewall and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Our ef­forts over the years have raised over $200,000 for Scott’s Me­mo­rial Fund. It is be­cause of the gen­eros­ity of our sup­port­ers that there is not one child in this area that is on a wait­ing list at The Chil­dren’s Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre,” Sar­gent said.

To make a do­na­tion, you can visit steel­town­ and click on the Chil­dren’s Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Foun­da­tion link at the bot­tom of the page. Do­na­tions can also be made by cheque (dropped off or mailed to Steel­town Ford) or credit card.

GM dealer busier than ever

Over the past two years, Selkirk Chevro­let Pon­tiac Buick GMC has been one of the fastest grow­ing Gen­eral Mo­tors deal­ers in Man­i­toba. Dealer prin­ci­pal Don Wal­ters re­ports sales in 2014 were 134 per cent higher than in 2013 and a 116 per cent growth in sales last year over 2014.

Wal­ters at­tributes the deal­er­ship’s suc­cess over the past two years to the in­tro­duc­tion of a new data col­lec­tion sys­tem and pro­cesses, more dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and use of so­cial me­dia and hav­ing the right peo­ple in place. He took a mo­ment to sin­gle out gen­eral sales man­ager Diane Lit­tle and new car sales man­ager Kelly Balmer.

Balmer as­sumed her new of­fice at the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary af­ter a suc­cess­ful sales ca­reer at the Selkirk store. She be­gan her ca­reer in auto sales in 2006 at a Win­nipeg GM store. Af­ter tak­ing a break from the in­dus­try, she signed on at Selkirk Chevro­let five years ago. She was most re­cently the deal­er­ship’s busi­ness man­ager. Lit­tle has been part of the Selkirk Chev sales team for 15 years and gen­eral sales man­ager for the past two years. “We may be the only auto dealer in Canada with two women as part of our man­age­ment team,” said Wal­ters.

His son, Matt Wal­ters, com­pletes the man­age­ment team. The younger Wal­ters is the used car man­ager.

Don Wal­ters is a se­cond gen­er­a­tion Gen­eral Mo­tors dealer who took over his father’s deal­er­ship in Emerson 30 years ago. In 1989, Wal­ters moved to Selkirk and be­came the dealer prin­ci­pal at New­port Pon­tiac Buick. In 2004, he pur­chased Har­ris Chevro­let Oldsmo­bile, Selkirk’s Chevro­let dealer — and sub­se­quently com­bined the two GM stores un­der one roof at its cur­rent lo­ca­tion at 1010 Man­i­toba Ave. on Selkirk’s auto row.



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