The “C” in ADEC stands for “Community” and ADEC makes great efforts through its community outreach department to embrace its local community beyond just the IDD community. The Picture Possibilities fundraiser received a significant amount of support back from that local community as evidenced by a substantial list of corporate sponsors for a new event which was created on-the-fly over just a few weeks in May and June.

ADEC has found yet another community within this community – a community of ADEC supporters. The two presenting sponsors of Picture Possibilities, Thor Industries and Froggy 102.7, came together this past week as Elkhart’s popular variety hits station had Bob Martin, President and CEO of Elkhart’s own Fortune 500 company, on the air. Thor is the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles and the only RV company on the Fortune 500.

Martin grew up in Bristol, just over a mile from ADEC’s headquarters. He went on to Purdue University where he played football for the Boilermakers, earning a varsity letter in 1991. Martin worked at Coachmen Industries and then Keystone RV before moving on to Thor where he became CEO in 2012. Zach from Froggy 102.7 asked Martin all about what this home community means to both himself and Thor. Here is what he had to say:

What does community mean to you at Thor Industries?
“Our company is definitely part of the community and we’ve really tried to grow that over the last several years. Thor has grown from a company that was viewed to be an east coast-based company – more of a holding company. Over the last several years, we’ve really realized that as a company we need to be part of the community.

“It’s special for me because I grew up (here). I was born in Elkhart but then when I was age nine, I moved to a location that’s about a mile and a half from ADEC. I grew up in a small subdivision just off state road 120. I went to grade school in Bristol. I rode the bus and I would see ADEC every day. For me, it was one of those special connections. We’ve grown in our giving and our community involvement. We’re involved in many different things as a company.

“But then also, personally, my wife and I thought that ADEC is something (important). We’re still Bristol residents and I really have been for probably 35 of my 50 years so it’s a local endeavor for us. We have friends who have had family members utilize the facility. We get glowing reviews from them. To us, ADEC is a vital part of the community that provides a service that’s a tough service. It’s something that’s really needed for these families and for the growth of the individuals who are there.

“For us, community is the total involvement of the company and being engaged in the overall community – not just in Elkhart – but for us now worldwide.”

Why is it important for Thor to partner with ADEC for the Picture Possibilities fundraiser?

“We’ve partnered the past few years for the Ride-A-Bike but with the new normal, that wasn’t allowed to happen. We still wanted to partner with ADEC and support in any way.

“Right now, everything’s changing. We’re sitting here not in person. We’re communicating via Zoom. My day consists of countless Zoom calls and Hangouts and Teams. We’re learning new ways to communicate with people. This is a new way to raise funds. Virtually is definitely the way that we need to go and I knew that we wanted to help and be part of it. I got my T-Shirt so thank you. Everybody needs to evolve with changing times. Right now this is what you really need to do to move with the times.

“For us, we were excited to help in any way, but I think this is a very creative way to reach out, get people’s attention and spread the word about the good things that you’re doing at ADEC.”