By Heather Short

In 2007, the city of Lakewood welcomed its newest addition: Lakewood Ford. Since then, the business has been a valuable asset not only for the Lakewood community, but also for the military community.

Lakewood Ford has sponsored several military charitable golf tournaments, such as the Night Stalker and Purple Heart Association tournaments, as well as softball teams and veterans' groups.

"We can never do enough to give back to the military community," said general manager Henry Krebs, a Vietnam veteran.

Working with the military community is important to Lakewood Ford not only through a business aspect, but also on a personal level. A majority of employees are veterans, including Krebs and new car sales manager Ray Ainsworth.

After being approached with an opportunity to help give back to military families during Thanksgiving, Ainsworth and other Lakewood Ford employees purchased several frozen turkeys from a local grocery store. They brought the turkeys to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to be given to families in need. Lakewood Ford has also helped collect items to be placed in care packages for deployed Soldiers.

Harley-Davidsons sound great.

I didn't even have to use the word "motorcycle" to end that last sentence.  You know what I mean.

"Harley-Davidson is an American legend," Julio Valdenegro, the general manager of Northwest Harley-Davidson in Lacey, told me last Saturday afternoon. "And the sound is distinctively American."

Named after and founded by William Harley and brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson, the Milwaukee-based company began in 1901. In 1903, a wooden shed was built in the Davidson's back yard, and by 1904 production output topped out at eight motorcycles annually.

In 1905 Carl Lang, the first Harley-Davidson dealer, sold three Harley-Davidson motorcycles out of the dozen or so built in the shed.

Since then, the brand has flourished, floundered and then reestablished itself as the dominant motorcycle company in the country.

Part of Harley-Davidson's success lies in the quality of its product. The rest of it lies in the attitude of dealerships like Northwest Harley-Davidson.

Located at 8000 Freedom Lane Northeast in Lacey, Northwest Harley-Davidson has established itself as a destination point for local riders.

Billing itself as "The Friendliest Shop on the West Coast," the dealership features a 30,000 square-foot facility that offers its customers sales, service and accessories.

Of particular interest are the 31 models of Harley-Davidsons neatly arranged in the showroom.

"We love the dynamic of the customers who come here," Tina Torfin, guest relations manager and military sales specialist, said.  "We are friendly, welcoming and family-oriented."

The dealership also gives back to the community.


Olympia Auto Mall announces August food drive

Are you a big Major League Soccer fan, particularly when it comes to the Seattle Sounders FC? Do you want a limited edition piece of memorabilia for your collection plus a chance to get some free gas? Then get ready to make a donation for a good cause on Saturday, Aug. 18, when participating Olympia Auto Mall Dealerships will be giving away Kasey Keller bobbleheads to kick off their Ride With Kasey Keller contest.

Keller, a Lacey native and former Sounders goalkeeper who retired last October, is now a color commentator for the Seattle MLS club.

"We ask that you bring non-perishable food items for the drive and help support Thurston County Food Bank," said Alicia Nelson, executive manager for the Olympia Auto Mall Dealers Association. "At that time you can register for your collectable Kasey Keller numbered bobblehead."

The giveaway is limited to one booblehead per family and is only valid while supplies last. Participating dealerships include All Star Ford, Olympia Nissan, Olympia Chrysler Jeep, Capitol City Honda, Lincoln Mazda of Olympia, Hanson Motors, Topping Volvo and Toyota of Olympia.

Once you own a Keller bobblehead, the real contest is just beginning. Photograph or video your adventures with the bobblehead and then upload the photos or videos to the Olympia Auto Mall's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Olympia-Auto-Mall-Dealers-Association/161702763854538) to enter to win one of four $100 gas cards.

The contest will run from Aug. 18 until Sept. 30 and you must be 18 years old to enter. Entries will be judged on their creative and unique content and no inappropriate photos will be considered. Winners will be announced by Oct. 14.

For more information, call (360) 705-1636.

Hobbies can turn into businesses. That's how Christina Davis and husband, Spc. Jaron Davis of the 21st Signal Battalion, began Jaron and Christina Davis Creations (JCDC). 

A love of photography was a pivotal point in their relationship when they realized the passion for photography was a common bond between them.  Though they each had different backgrounds in the use of cameras, the passion to take photos to record people and events was strong with each of them.

Jaron studied journalism before entering the Army and continues to take photos as much as possible.  He has always enjoyed the opportunities to capture Mother Nature at her finest.

Christina began her almost earnest passion to capture people when she suffered a major loss with the death of a close friend.  Not having a lot of reminders of the time spent with her friend was the beginning of her desire to make sure no one else could become a forgotten face.

America's Credit Union (ACU) recently received four awards from the Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC)-two silver awards in their asset category for their ‘Now Enlisting' billboard campaign and ‘Army Men' radio advertisements, and two bronze awards for a direct mail campaign and bus advertisements. The MAC awards competition is held annually to recognize outstanding marketing campaigns in the credit union industry. MAC entries are judged based on three criteria:  planning (30%), results (45%), and creativity (25%).

Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers received a flood of gifts from merchants representing the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce today during the chamber's monthly Military Affairs Committee.

"Listed below are some very special businesses, associations and individuals in our community," said Linda Smith, president and CEO of the Lakewod Chamber. 

SPC Lester and SGT Krzywonos are JBLM's 2012 Soldier & NCO of the Year.  They each received two bags and a cooler packed with trinkets and gift certificates.

The donors included:

When Army Ranger Nate Trodahl witnessed a female arguing with a male Soldier, he saw an opportunity to impress a pretty girl.

It was 1995 and they were at a party during a deployment to Cuba. But this wasn't just any pretty girl - it was Spc. Leighann Durke, and she stopped his intervention before it began.

"I got this," she said, and proceeded to "verbally crush the Soldier," said Nate.

It was love at first sight for the Ranger, who never had or wanted a steady girlfriend.

Two kids, two dogs, two houses, and 17 years later, the Trodahls are now a civilian family and proud owners of their own business.

They left the Army for the same reason - to begin a family.

However, "the transition to civilian life was hard," he said.

He belonged to Joint Base Lewis-McChord's special operations community.

"I missed my guys and the camaraderie and often wandered back on base to hang out."

The transition was harder when he landed his first job while attending college.

"My military mindset and training didn't transfer well into corporate America," he said. "I was used to negative reinforcement - embarrassment worked in the Army, but not in the civilian world, and not with human resources."

While working as a dealer in a local casino in 2002, Nate was recruited by a State Farm agent.

"I took a $15,000 pay cut," he said. "But I had other long-term goals, and the experience was invaluable."

State Farm paid for his master's degree from Saint Martin's college, and in 2010, he opened the Nathan Trodahl Insurance Agency in Puyallup. Of the 25 State Farm agents in the state, Nate - the youngest agent in the group - is rated number four in production and is ahead of others who have been in the business since 1983.

But he isn't in it for himself. "My greatest desire is to give back and pay it forward to the military community," he said. "I want to someday teach Soldiers at St. Martin's and mentor them through military life and in making that transition to civilian life. And if I can help them set up their own businesses, even better."

Nate said it's not about the money, but about helping Soldiers and comrades because he understands the life.

"I want to take care of them and their families," he said. "I want to be the one they talk to about their careers, their financial lives, their next steps. It's all about expectations - if Soldiers don't know their path, they can't manage expectations."

Nate's office offers auto, home and life insurance, mutual funds, 401K, investments, college funds, checking accounts, securities, budget planning - the whole gamut.

"Nate's the guy that'll look out for our Soldiers," said Leighann. "He'll tell you what the deal is and be straight up and honest."

For more information, visit
www.nathantrodahl.com, call (253) 693-2111 or email Nate at nathan@nathantrodahl.com.

Congratulations to the following Corporate Members who were selected to become the 62nd Airlift Wing's Honorary Commanders or Command Chief:

Vicky Nelson (Harborstone Credit Union) - Honorary Commander
Donna Haines (CoinForce.com) - Honorary Commander
Ken Luce (Luce Law Firm) - Honorary Commander
Carlene Joseph (Harborstone Credit Union) - Honorary Command Chief
Regina McDaniel (TriWest Healthcare Alliance) - Honorary Commander
Mary Moss (Lakewood City Council) - Honorary Commander

(Information courtesy of Carlene oseph at Harborstone Credit Union)

See the info here.