Wednesday, November 4, 2009


You can bank on his word: TB’s humanitarian ‘contagious with doing good for others’

Kathy McCarron

Scott Beasley, 2009 Tire Dealer Humanitarian. Tire Business photo by Kathy McCarron

DUBLIN, Ga.—“He’s the role model that every man needs to be. From his family involvement to business to community, he’s the ideal role model.”

That’s Jep Craig’s take on his longtime friend, F. Scott Beasley. And that sentiment is echoed by many of the townspeople in Dublin, where Mr. Beasley has built up a thriving tire dealership for the past 40 years.

So when Mr. Beasley, president of Duncan Tire Co., recently was named the 2009 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award winner by Tire Business, many viewed it as a testament to the decades of good will and generosity of time and talent he has given to the community.

In addition to overseeing the operations of two retail locations and a commercial tire center, Mr. Beasley has served on numerous boards and committees for city and county economic development, the local American Red Cross chapter, the local technical college, the local bank, the local chamber of commerce and the Georgia Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (GTDRA).

He has donated and distributed meal vouchers to the homeless, cooked and given away hundreds of free turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas, offered donuts and coffee to St. Patrick’s Day parade participants in front of his dealership every year and sponsored the annual St. Patrick’s Festival golf tournaments, Industry Appreciation Day events and school booster clubs.

He also has shared his charity on a personal level by waiving costs for tire and auto service for financially strapped patrons, donating free meals, hiring students fresh out of school and helping out at rescue shelters during a hurricane.

As one of many examples, Mr. Craig recalled a visit to Mr. Beasley’s office one day: “He had heard that a family had to take their child 90 miles away for chemo (therapy) in Augusta. And he immediately—I mean without the first hesitation, it was like the second sentence—he told (his store manager and son-in-law) David, ‘We need to find out where that family lives, go get their family car, make sure the tires are good on it, change the oil and make sure that mom can transport that child to chemo and not have to worry about it.
“She’s got enough to worry about. We need to make sure that vehicle is road worthy.’ And that’s how he thinks. It’s second nature to him.”

Another long-time friend, Don Daily, related how after a Dublin High School football game, late at night, Mr. Beasley opened up his shop to change a flat tire on the car of some teenagers who had traveled to the game. They didn’t have the money to pay for the new tire that night so he let them mail it to him later.

A few years ago Mr. Beasley sought help for an employee addicted to drugs. He arranged for the man to enter a treatment program on two different occasions, provided him with clothes and other necessities and kept tabs on him after he moved on to another job.

“Had it not been for his tenacity in trying to help this young man, I do not believe ‘John’ would be sober today,” wrote Frank Fields, CEO of River Edge Behavioral Health Center, who assisted Mr. Beasley in finding the treatment programs.

“Scott is many-faceted and one facet that truly stands out is his love for his fellow man, no matter their station in life,” wrote Tommy Walker of Walker Tire Co. in Sandersville, Ga., in his recommendation of Mr. Beasley for the award.

Mr. Walker related how after his 17-year-old son and his girlfriend died in a car accident, Mr. Beasley, who was scheduled to drive to a convention four hours south of Mr. Walker’s home, instead drove out of his way to visit him and offer his condolences before heading to the convention. “That, to me, speaks volumes of a friend and caring fellow tire dealer,” Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Beasley essentially married into the tire business when he decided to work for his father-in-law and dealership founder, Bill Duncan, in 1970. Now his two sons-in-law, David Polhill and Robert Miller, are working with him and sharing in his community involvement.

“A lot of people have lived here their whole lives and have never given back,” said Kathy Jones, director of the Dublin Downtown Development Authority. “Scott wants to give back to the community that’s been so good to him and in turn he wants to be good to the community. Obviously that’s why he won the award—because he’s a great humanitarian and wants to see our community prosper as well as the people in it.”

“It’s not that I have to do anything,” Mr. Beasley said. “But when you live in a community and you can go, ‘I’m in my 40th year and 38 of those 40 years have been profitable’—now that’s from the community that has supported Duncan Tire Co.

“So if somebody comes in here and needs some help or needs us to sponsor them or help promote them or be part of that, then we need to try to do that. That is nothing more than pay back.

“There are a lot of individuals I’ve done things for that didn’t have anything to do with business. But this town, as far as the growth of this town and this community and this county, is important to me because that is the stability of my business,” he said.

He talked with Tire Business while seated in his dealership office with large windows that provide an expansive view of the downtown area he has helped rehabilitate, including the new farmers market building and landscaping next door.

“The real motivation would be if I can do it, then my family, my daughters and my sons-in-law, maybe will see what it takes or maybe they’ll see what happens when you become involved.

“You can’t sit on the park bench. You just can’t sit on the park bench and just be there.… Somebody built the park and built the park bench. You got to give a hand to help these people whether it’s one-on-one or whether it’s being part of a board that’s helping somebody,” he said.

Rusty Moses, owner of Georgia Tire Co. in Vidalia, Ga., called Mr. Beasley an “unsung hero,” noting that “instead of writing a check, he goes out and orchestrates it. He’s a one-man workhorse.”

“I think because of his continued ambition to be involved and to help people is why he serves on so many boards,” Mr. Craig said. “They see that he’s truly interested in not only helping people but Scott is genuinely interested in helping his community grow…. They know he’ll do what he says he will do. You can bank on his word.”

“He is truly the type of individual a community has to have in order for volunteer organizations to go forward,” said Johnny Payne, who worked with Mr. Beasley as a volunteer basketball league referee.

“He’s not a wanna¬be, he is someone who is a ‘workabe.’ He’s someone behind the scenes more so than sometimes in the front.”

Mr. Payne described Mr. Beasley as “a man’s man but yet has the chivalry that is needed by a true Southern gentleman. Not many of us can distinguish between the business world and so forth, but Scott is very level-headed, interested, loves his community. He loves his family and all those things are tied in and that is why he and this company have been so successful.”

Those who know him praise Mr. Beasley’s friendly personality. “He has a huge heart. He’ll do anything for anybody,” Mr. Miller said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, he’s going to treat you the same. He’s going to give you help, whether it’s the Red Cross or helping out veterans,” Mr. Polhill added.

“Scott is the type of person that acknowledges other people around him,” Mr. Payne said, “and he does things for people without seeking any type of glory but for his own good feelings inside of him.”

“When I walk down the street, if I see a stranger it’s, ‘OK, that’s a stranger walking by.’ And I may not speak to that stranger because they are a stranger,” Mr. Craig said. “Scott never meets a stranger. He’s going to make that person speak to him or even carry on a conversation with him. And he’s always looking for, ‘Does that person need any assistance?’ not, ‘What can that person do for me?’ but, ‘What can I do for that person?’”

He added, “Scott does not brag about what he does. And he gets other people involved.” Mr. Craig gave an example of when Mr. Beasley started distributing meal vouchers to the homeless last year.

“In the beginning, it was only he, Rob and David. But then, all of a sudden, he had engaged all of his employees. They wanted to help. He’s contagious. I think if I had to pick a word to describe Scott, he is contagious with doing good for others.”

Mr. Beasley was chosen for the Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award by judges from the United Way of Summit County (Ohio) Volunteer Center in Akron, which promotes volunteerism in local communities.

“Scott Beasley has been involved and continues to be involved with many community activities both by way of volunteer and philanthropic support,” noted the judges, citing his various charitable activities and involvement with numerous agency boards. “His contribution to the betterment of his community goes on and on.”

Tire Business presented Mr. Beasley with the 16th annual Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award—an engraved medal and a $1,000 donation to a charity of his choice—during the Tire Industry Association’s “Tire Industry Honors” event Nov. 2 on the eve of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

Scholarship fundraising

Mr. Beasley said he is giving the award donation to the GTDRA Foundation, which awards scholarships every year to qualifying association member employees or their children.

Mr. Beasley continues to be involved with the foundation he helped create about 20 years ago, serving on the board of trustees and helping raise funds from association members during the group’s annual meetings.

“One of the things I truly love is the Georgia Tire Dealer scholarship foundation,” Mr. Beasley said. “I am not a public speaker. That’s something I can’t do. But there is one thing that motivates me every time there’s a Georgia Tire Dealers annual meeting. I’m going to get up and tell you why you need to give me some money for scholarships and that’s the one time I don’t get upset or get uptight. And I guess that’s because I believe in it.”

Mr. Beasley has served as president, vice president and treasurer of the GTDRA, as well as having held a seat on the board of directors. His sons-in-law are now involved in the leadership of the association with Mr. Miller as president and Mr. Polhill as second vice president.

Helping the homeless

After reading a series of newspaper articles on Dublin’s homeless population last fall, “Scott said, ‘You know, we need to see if there’s something we can do,’” Mr. Miller recalled. “He decided what we would do as a business is we’ll go out to a couple of different restaurants and buy some meal coupons. That lets you take the coupon in there and you get a hot meal,” he said.

Mr. Beasley originally planned to host a dinner at a local church and invite the homeless for a meal but was told the homeless may not show up.  “Even though they have nowhere to live, they still have their pride. They don’t want to be seen by people taking pictures,” Mr. Miller said. “So we scratched that plan and that’s when we came up with the idea of buying the coupons and just taking them and distributing them.”

A couple of buffet-style restaurants gave the dealership a fair price on more than $2,000 worth of coupons, according to Mr. Miller.  Local law enforcement officials drove Mr. Beasley around the county in December to where they knew the homeless stayed so he could hand out about 100 coupons.

In addition to the dealership employees, a couple of churches donated some money to offset the cost of the coupons. “It was a little something that got folks involved,” he said.

“For the most part, the people were very appreciative and it made him feel good and it made us feel good and it gave us a little good publicity, but that’s not what we did it for,” Mr. Miller said. Duncan Tire is planning on conducting a similar charity project this winter. “It’s something I think we’ll continue to do as long as we can afford to do it because there is definitely a need out there.”

While distributing coupons, Mr. Beasley also paid a past-due electric bill for a local non-profit shelter for homeless veterans.

Belief in community

“I do believe in my community. I really do,” said Mr. Beasley, who grew up in Dublin, a town in the middle of Georgia with a population of about 17,000. “I do believe it is my responsibility to support anybody that supported me. And this community, this wonderful community, not only my father-in-law but Dave and Rob and I have really benefited from a wonderful community. So we’ve got to pay it back.”

Mr. Beasley served as chairman of the Downtown Development Authority in 2006-07 and was instrumental in the construction of the town’s Market on Madison, an open-air multipurpose structure that houses a farmers market, meetings and other events near downtown. He donated shrubbery to be planted on the grounds.

He also was “instrumental” in ensuring that a downtown parking lot was repaved and outfitted with lights to make it safer for downtown shoppers, according to the Authority’s Ms. Jones.

“He loves Dublin and Laurens County. That is just so obvious,” she said. “…(T)hat’s the great thing about Scott. You can tell he wants every aspect of our community to be successful, whether it’s the downtown, whether it’s the north side, the east side. He’s just dedicated to ensuring that our community is the best it can be and that’s obvious in everything he does.”

After his stint with the city development board, Mr. Beasley was appointed vice chairman and is serving as secretary-treasurer of the county industrial development authority that tries to lure new business and industry into the area.

He served as chairman of the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce in 1997 and is still active with the organization, according to Chamber President Willie Paulk.

Under his leadership, the chamber began an annual retreat that involves 50 people who meet for two days to discuss how to improve the community. Mr. Beasley also was involved with the chamber’s long-range planning committee when it decided to build a 3,500-sq.-ft. conference center to host chamber and development authority meetings as well as outside social events. Mr. Beasley chaired a fundraising committee to raise money for the facility, which opened in 2006.

“He’s a very generous person, not only of his time and talent but through his business as well. He’s always trying to help others. When he believes in something, he gives it 200 percent,” Ms. Paulk said.

Tech college booster

Mr. Craig, vice president of economic development for the Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin, called Mr. Beasley “an enormous proponent of technical education.” He served on the college’s auto mechanic advisory committee that comprises four to five business owners who meet twice a year. They review the curriculum and the automotive equipment used at the school and make recommendations for any upgrades or changes.

“We try to have our students one step ahead of the industry, that way it is much easier for them to get placement,” Mr. Craig said. The school’s diesel department is the only ASE-certified program in the state, he said, and the automotive repair program is undergoing the review process for its certification.

Mr. Beasley has been involved with the program for the past 10 years, and after serving on the advisory committee he has recommended some of his employees to serve on the board at different times.

He has hired some of its students and has sent employees to the school for training, which he pays for if they pass the class.

Keep Red Cross afloat

Mr. Beasley was “a very active” board member of the local American Red Cross during his term in 1998-2000. When he joined, the local chapter was planning to close. With Mr. Beasley’s involvement, the board conducted active fundraising to keep the chapter afloat, according to the Magnolia Midlands Chapter’s executive director, Debbie Wynn.

In 1999, when Hurricane Floyd spurred one of the largest evacuations along the U.S. coast, many sought refuge in the Dublin area where the Red Cross set up several shelters. “Scott and his wife went over to one of our shelters and helped with the meals, without me knowing it until later,” Ms. Wynn said. The couple helped serve meals, bring supplies and run errands.Even after his stint on the board, Mr. Beasley continues to be involved.

As a Red Cross Hero, Mr. Beasley agrees to raise at least $1,000 for the Red Cross’ annual fundraiser. He displays banners in his shops and raffles prizes as incentives for customers to donate to the cause. He fixes and maintains the chapter’s vehicles at no charge. He also has recommended other volunteers to serve on the board over the years. “There needs to be more people like Scott,” Ms. Wynn said, adding, “His word is as good as gold. He doesn’t make idle commitments.”

A referee with heart

During the 1980s Mr. Beasley, a former high school basketball player, was a volunteer referee for an interdenominational church basketball league that provided a venue for high school students who weren’t on school teams. Mr. Beasley was one of three officials who refereed two or three games a night, three days a week.

“We tried to do everything in the spirit of unity and the officials were a key part of it,” said Mr. Payne, who organized the league from 1980-89. He said he could remember only one time when Mr. Beasley called him to say he couldn’t referee a game night. “So he rearranged his schedule in such a manner, as the professional that he is, so that he could be this volunteer for no compensation except within the heart and in the mind. That, to me, is what a true volunteer is and he exemplified that in his mannerisms,” Mr. Payne said.

“Refereeing basketball was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Mr. Beasley said, noting that it wasn’t just because of the need for physical stamina, but for emotional stamina when dealing with overzealous parents on the sidelines.

“I actually said to a parent one time, ‘Look, I am not a professional basketball referee and odds are you are not a professional basketball player. So let’s find some common ground here.’”

Juvenile court advocate

As if he wasn’t busy enough, Mr. Beasley has begun a new venture—training to become a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for the juvenile court system. Once his many hours of training are complete, he will serve as an advocate for children who come under court monitoring, usually due to abuse or neglect.

“They call you to be a witness to how visitations are going between children and parents, between children and children, or between the court system and children or between (the child welfare agency) and children. You got to be a mentor,” Mr. Beasley said.

“Why I do it is because I think I did a decent job with my own two children and hope to get a chance to be a mentor for my grandchildren…. CASA is strictly volunteers. I think it’s because I feel good about how I raised my children that I could share something relevant with a parent,” he said.

“The last place we need to be sending people is to prison. We need to find some help for these children. If you volunteer you can start with young folks and maybe make a change. And that’s the reason I like CASA,” Mr. Beasley said.

“Part of my training for CASA is a book, 600 pages and the most boring reading I’ve ever done, and attend 10 hours of juvenile court proceedings. I have three hours to go.” ‘You just make time’

“I’m not the person that can sit out here and write a check for a lot of money to do this or do that. But my time and a little effort to help people—I feel like that’s what I have to do.

“This community has supported me for 40 years. My family will continue to support the community,” Mr. Beasley said.

How does he find the time for all his activities?

“You just make time,” Mr. Beasley said. “It’s not that much time. It’s an hour here or a lunch time here. If I’m involved in something, I try to find the most agreeable time for everybody to meet.”

“I make time because all these organizations don’t meet every day. In the course of a month there’s one week a month I have four meetings. The other weeks I have maybe one meeting a week.”

But first and foremost, Mr. Beasley is devoted to his wife, Lynn, whom he married 39 years ago.

“She is my best partner. Anything that I’ve done, she has signed off on. Whenever I’m doing something I feel like, first and foremost, I got to represent my family.

“And I got to represent my community,” he said, adding, “If I take on something, I want to do my very best job. My wife is my No. 1 supporter.…I would not be anybody, I wouldn’t have the things I have, I wouldn’t be somewhat successful if it were not for my wife and two children…. She is the most important person in my life.”

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