WINCHESTER — The Marlow Automotive Group in Winchester is celebrating its 75th anniversary by performing 75 acts of kindness.
Actually, make that 80 acts. Maybe even 85.
Emily Marlow Beck, president of Marlow Automotive, said she and her employees passed the 75 mark several days before Friday’s delivery of donated food to the Winchester Rescue Mission and donated books to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
“There’s more acts scheduled for the next few days, too,” said Brian Nieves, marketing director for the family-owned company that was founded in 1947 and operates Tri-State Nissan near Winchester, Marlow Motor Co. in Front Royal and Marlow Ford in Luray.
On Friday afternoon, a 2021 Nissan Titan from Tri-State Nissan and a 2021 Ram 1500 from Marlow Motor Co. pulled onto the parking lot of the Our Health campus, located in the 300 block of North Cameron Street in Winchester, loaded down with items that had been donated by customers of the dealerships.
The truckload of non-perishable food items in the Titan were presented to Brandan Thomas, executive director of the Winchester Rescue Mission at 435 N. Cameron St., and the approximately 500 books in the bed of the Ram pickup truck were given to Andy Gail, executive director of Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area at 301 N. Cameron St. and a board member of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Winchester.
“It was more than we expected, way more,” Nieves said about the number of donated items delivered on Friday. “People kept dropping things off.”
“Customers have brought in things, employees have brought in things,” Beck said. “We even had a couple businesses … that did little [collection] drives and brought some items to us.”
Gail said the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading already has plans for the hundreds of books it received on Friday.
“We built 13 little libraries in all the pocket parks in town, we’re going to be at Family Day [on Aug. 7] in the North End [of Winchester] and we’re going to National Night Out [on Tuesday in Winchester],” Gail said. “We’re going to get the books into the hands of the community.”
Thomas said the donated food will be offered to people in need during the Winchester Rescue Mission’s community meals and food distributions, both of which are held at 11 a.m. weekdays at the nonprofit’s homeless shelter on North Cameron Street.
“They’ve partnered with us at the mission [for several years], which is really incredible,” Thomas said of Marlow Automotive, adding he first learned of the company’s philanthropy and caring attitude after buying a truck from one of its dealerships.
Beck said the 75 acts of kindness being performed by Marlow Automotive employees have focused on needs in the communities served by its three dealerships.
“In Front Royal, for example, we had a barbecue for the men’s homeless shelter,” she said. “Here in Winchester, we’re doing a diaper drive for The Red Wagon Ministry and we’ve worked with the Highland Food Pantry and CCAP. A bunch of us even gave blood together. It has really been pretty great.”
In addition to helping nonprofits, Beck said the 75 acts have also included simpler measures like “taking ice cream to kids at the park, taking water bottles to people at construction sites, little things like that to show kindness in a tangible, organized way.”
Beck said Marlow Automotive’s employees and executives never even considered congratulating themselves for 75 years of success, but instead wanted to give back to the people and communities who have kept their company in business for three-quarters of a century.
“We felt like this was an opportunity to really lean into the fact that our customers are our neighbors,” Beck said. “Caring makes us better.”