By Susan Monteleone
NARROWSBURG July 27, 2001 Ford Motor Company has recently introduced the Blue Oval Certified Thumbie Award Program, and one of the first of those awards is going to a local member of the Narrowsburg Motors team, Edith Dee Dee Schrader.
The Blue Oval Certified Award program started with a thumbprint. The thumbprint stands for every employees personal involvement and commitment to customer satisfaction, and the key to a customers trust, says Ford.
The Thumbie Awards themselves are exclusively for Blue Oval Certified dealerships, which Narrowsburg Motors has earned. The Thumbie Award is given to employees who may become the stars of the Blue Oval Certified print advertising campaign scheduled for late in the third quarter of 2001. Out of the years winners, two such employees are used for a national print campaign. Those winners will be featured in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Readers Digest, Road and Track and others.
In addition to receiving the Thumbie Award, the winners receive a trophy plus a commemorative certificate from the president of Ford Motor Company.
Knowing such, Kathleen Johnson of Narrowsburg Motors could not wait to nominate Dee Dee for the award.
I can remember filling out the nomination form. It had to be only 300 words, and I kept going over that limit because Dee Dee is such a wonderful employee and friend to us, said Johnson. There are just so many nice things she does, and I just cant begin to say how much she means to me and the Narrowsburg Motors Family.
After many attempts, Johnson did get her nomination down to the 300-word maximum. In that nomination, she noted, Out of the 56 years our family has had the Ford franchise, Dee Dee has been with us for 35 of those years. She is not only a tremendous asset to our dealership, but she is also a wonderful asset to Ford itself. She is the first person you see when you walk in or call, and she has a bubbly personality and cheerful voice and smile that can make someone who is having the worst day possible feel like a million bucks.
The dealership has often had people call to say hi because its like they are calling Disney World, because Dee Dee is always happy. She is one of the most honest and genuine people you could ever come across, and she gives off the feeling you want your customers to have about your store and product. With Dee Dee, her world could be falling apart, but you would never know it because she is always putting others first.
Johnson submitted the entry at the end of May and heard nothing for weeks. She eventually gave up, thinking Schrader had been passed over.
However, on Monday, July 9, at 9:33 a.m., the following email was sent to Johnson:
The Blue Oval Certified team tried to contact you today via telephone but may or may not have been able to reach you. By receipt of this email, Edith Schrader has been chosen for a Blue Oval Certified Thumbie Award. When we came across the nomination, it truly stood out among the others. The personal commitment to customer satisfaction and community were not only remarkable, it was inspiring.
So with this, Edith will be featured in an upcoming issue of Time Magazine in something called an advertorial, which will feature the story submitted as well as a photo. Congratulations! Tad Smith, J. Walter Thompson Partner, Brand Account Supervisor.
Turns out that Schrader was one of only two people throughout the United States to receive the Thumbie Award and the only person on the East Coast to receive such an honor through the Ford Motor Company.
Upon receiving the email, a thrilled Johnson immediately informed Dee Dee of the award.
Schraders reaction was initially more subdued.
I was truly shocked to hear of the nomination and to hear I won the award, she remarked last week. When I told my family about it, they could not believe I had won it either. It is really a nice honor, and I am still amazed I won it!
She added that Time Magazine came up recently to do the photo shoot for the advertorial piece.
Dee Dee Schrader came to Narrowsburg Motors in 1965 and has worked with all three generations of the Hankins family, who started the dealership in 1945.
When asked what she thinks of her job, Schrader was modest with her response.
I enjoy getting up in the morning. I have a purpose, and coming to work is a true satisfaction for me, she said. I have been a bookkeeper here the whole time, and I love my work. The people I work with are my family, and I love them all. I just could not ask for a finer place to work than right here at Narrowsburg Motors.
Walter Hankins, who started the dealership, added, Dee Dee is an outstanding employee and deserves the award very much. She is a valuable asset to us and very competent in her work. She has been a pleasure to be with ever since she started here, and the dealership has grown a lot because of her. We love having her as part of our family.
Added Johnson, Dee Dee has been one of the main reasons Narrowsburg Motor Sales is still in operation today. Her knowledge, personality and expertise are one of the biggest assets that make it what it is today. Our family has always felt that she is a member of our family, and . . . we love her like she is one of our own.
Dee Dee will be receiving her award and certificate in a few weeks, along with appearing in an unspecified future issue of Time.
Yet with all the recognition now upon her, Schrader just smiles and goes about her work a typical day, in other words.