When the 2013 Special Olympics BC Summer Games was set to be held in Langley, Peter Heppner, General Manager and Dealer Principal of Preston Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd., viewed it as a natural fit for his dealership to offer their support.
In addition to the ongoing vital support from B.C.’s New Car Dealers that helped Special Olympics BC host the Provincial Games, Heppner and his dealership stepped up to provide vehicles so Games organizers and team leaders could travel between the venues around Langley, and helped spread the word in the community to recruit volunteers and spectators to provide critical support for the athletes.
“We consider ourselves very much a community dealer, and this is our community. It was our pleasure to assist,” Heppner said.
Heppner views Special Olympics as a “very, very good cause” and a good fit for his dealership as the longtime chosen charity of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. and of the B.C. GM Dealers. He believes in what Special Olympics does, seeing the value and benefits that are derived by the participants.
“I think there are huge benefits for anybody to participate in organized sports,” Heppner said. As he watched the Opening Ceremonies of the 2013 SOBC Summer Games, he saw the proof of the value of Special Olympics and all that the New Car Dealers’ support helps bring to life.
“As we watched the teams parade into the arena, you could see the absolute joy on their faces to be part of this big event, an important part,” he said. “You can just tell the sense of self-worth they felt, and the benefits of the self-esteem.” Heppner also observed how caring SOBC volunteers are with the athletes, providing an empowering environment of genuine support and encouragement.
Heppner came to Langley in 2006 from Alberta, where Special Olympics is also the long-standing chosen charity for the province’s Motor Dealers’ Association, so he was already very familiar with the movement. He moved into the Preston dealership that had a tradition of charitable generosity thanks to the legacy of George Preston, whom Heppner describes as “perhaps one of the most charitable and community-minded car dealers I’ve ever met,” so they are doing their best to continue his legacy.
“We’re all very proud of the work the New Car Dealers Association does on behalf of all the dealers, and Pam Keith has done a wonderful job of leading the fundraising efforts for SOBC,” Heppner said.