Community Heroes
Sykora Family Ford and Greg May Chevrolet

On April 17, 2013 a disastrous explosion occurred at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas, which left the town in a state of shock. Nearly every citizen of the town of 2,800 was affected in some way by the tragedy. Today the community is still recovering, but has Sykora Family Ford and Greg May Chevrolet to thank for their immediate and ongoing support in the healing process.

When the magnitude of the explosion became apparent to the community, the response from West’s two franchised new car dealers was immediate. Sykora Family Ford went on social media the night of the tragedy to notify residents that the dealership was available as a meeting place. The following day, the Sykora dealership was established as a collection point for goods to distribute to families who had suffered a loss.

Greg May Chevrolet was equally involved in the community outreach to those in West and surrounding areas, in spite of suffering significant physical damage to their own dealership. With the dealership closer to the blast area, the Greg May Chevrolet staff, led by General Manager Gary Rodenbaugh, protected their customers immediately following the explosion by securing them in a cement block building in the back of the dealership until it was safe for them to travel home to assess the damage to their own property.

In the days following April 17, Greg May Chevrolet served as a donation drop-off point, provided free towing of cars from the blast site, and provided food and drinks to police officers who were securing the scene of the explosion.

Like so many Texas towns, dealers don’t come and go; they become part of the fabric of the community, and are the first businesses to make a difference in a time of need.

Ronnie Sykora, in addition to being the General Manager of Sykora Family Ford, is also an ordained Catholic deacon. In that capacity he provided counseling to many of his fellow residents.

Greg May Chevrolet loaned police vehicles to the City of West and served as a drop-off point for middle and high school students who were forced to attend school outside of the city of West because of the destruction of their own schools. To raise funds for the city’s recovery, the dealership also sponsored “God Bless West” tee shirts which were sold at Greg May Chevrolet in West and Greg May Honda in Waco. All proceeds went to the victims of the tragedy.

Sykora Family Ford donated $500 from every new and used vehicle sale to the West Relief Fund, and Ford Motor Company is contributing a $500 rebate to anyone living in McLennan County as well as adjoining counties until July 8, 2013. In addition, the Sykora dealership loaned used cars to citizens who lost their vehicles in the blast. The two new car dealerships, both Ford and Chevy, got people back in their cars as quickly as possible so the citizens could resume their daily lives and help their families begin the process of recovery.

General Motors came through in a big way for West by giving $100,000 to the Red Cross, and initiating a $500 rebate for those affected by the blast.

Car dealers are much more than a business providing transportation to Texas citizens. They are a big business with a bigger heart. Ed Sykora, Greg May, their families and employees, in support of a community suffering its darkest hour, exemplify everything that is good about Texas and Texas dealers.