A Salute to Service

A Massachusetts dealer gets creative to honor veterans on staff

November 07, 2018
Labor of Love -- Acton Toyota General Manager Glenn Hoffman (left) and Service Manager Joe Cisek collaborated on
this display inside their dealership to honor military veterans on staff. Each picture represents an employee who served
in the military. 

Take a walk around the Acton Toyota showroom, and you see the usual hallmarks of a car dealership.
Vehicles. Sales staff. Service bays. The normal stuff.

But step into a hallway just off the cafeteria, and you immediately notice something that might seem a little unexpected: a tribute to military veterans. The framed display features a folded American flag flanked by photos of servicemembers who also happen to be Acton Toyota employees. 

“All of our employees are awesome,” says Joe Cisek, service manager. “But several of them are also veterans. They’re recognized throughout the community for their commitment to our country. So, it just made sense to honor them here, too. We’re very proud of them, and want them know that.”

For Cisek, that pride is personal. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1981 to 1985.

“Oh, it’s definitely personal for me,” he explains. “My father served in World War II. When I was 22, I wanted to do something better with my life, and the military provided a path.”

Cisek says the dealership’s management is committed to hiring veterans, and estimates about 16 of the dealership’s employees served in the military. He believes their experiences make them outstanding hires.

“You can just see it in them, that they served,” Cisek says. “They have a special way about them and how they carry themselves. It’s something you see in their pictures on the wall. And our owner has great pride in all of them.”

That’s a point Acton Toyota’s general manager echoes.

“It’s certainly something we look at when we go to hire someone,” Glenn Hoffman says. “A lot of these veterans on staff are in management positions. That’s because they have a strong ability to lead.”
Giving Thanks -- Acton Toyota General Manager Glenn Hoffman (left) and Service Manager Joe Cisek say the
dealership is committed to hiring military veterans. "We have great pride in all of them," Hoffman says. 

When Cisek floated the idea of a tribute wall to Hoffman, he was quick to give the green light.

“We all got together and decided to do it,” Hoffman says. “And our guys did it themselves, from scratch. Lots of love and labor. And of course, it’s really just about showing respect for the people that work here. And I have to tell you, I see a lot of people looking at it.”

Indeed, Cisek had hoped the display would inspire gratitude among the staff for those who served. But he never imagined the impact it would have on Acton Toyota customers, and in turn, how it would help him connect with them.

“We put it up on a Friday afternoon,” he says. “On that very first day – within the first hour, actually – I had a gentleman and fellow veteran point to it and say to me, ‘Hey, you’re on that board!’ And I thought, ‘Man, it’s working.’ Since then, we have customers recognizing our employees. It’s just amazing the acknowledgement they’re getting. And I’m so, so proud of it. These guys dedicated their lives. Anything could have happened to them. But they got through it, and now they’re here. It takes a special person, and I want them to feel our gratitude.”

By Kristen Orsborn

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