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The Star Democrat: Preston Automotive Group first recipient of Cornerstone Award

HURLOCK — Preston Automotive Group and its founders became the first recipient of Comptroller Peter Franchot's new Cornerstone Award, recognizing local business excellence. Franchot visited the Ford showroom at the Preston Autoplex on Thursday, Feb. 28, to present the award to the Wilson family for 44 years of not only contributing to the local economy, but also giving back to the community through philanthropy. "We love the big businesses, but I've never seen a Little League team with Amazon on the back," Franchot said. "That's why the local businesses we're starting to celebrate today, around the state, are so critical to our state's economy, but more importantly, to our state's strength." Franchot said a local business like Preston Automotive Group, which began in 1975 with its Preston Ford dealership and has since expanded to 17 locations in Maryland and Delaware selling eight automotive brands, provides jobs for neighbors and friends, and supplies revenues for local, state and federal governments. "We are celebrating the independence, innovation and investment that this great company represents on the Shore," Franchot said. Preston Automotive Group has earned generations of loyal customers with not only a wide selection and competitive pricing, Franchot said, but also with an outstanding client experience. "It's driven by everyone who works here," Franchot said. "It's the grit and sweat, and frankly, the tears sometimes, and the countless hours of work. Those are the core ingredients of any successful local business." Franchot also talked about the business's philanthropic efforts, from hosting the March of Dimes Mid-Shore March for Babies to donating a car to Sts. Peter and Paul School in Easton. "You have become a beacon for giving back and supporting neighbors," Franchot said. "You have committed yourself to being a socially conscious, community-driven business, and your 44-year tenure as a beloved automotive group has proven the success of this business model tenfold." David Wilson Sr., founder, said he was accepting the award on behalf of the company's entire team and the community it serves. "Without all of you, we wouldn't exist," he said. Wilson also thanked Franchot and the State of Maryland for being pro-business. "Together, everyone achieves more," he said. David Wilson Jr., vice president and chief operating officer, also recognized the team effort. "This is a family that gets it done," he said. Wilson said his uncle, Earl Wilson, is the longest-tenured employee at Preston Automotive Group. Franchot gave Earl Wilson a Comptroller's Medallion, given to Marylanders who make a difference. Caroline County Commission President Larry Porter said there are very few kids who have played for a sports team in the county that was not sponsored by Preston Automotive Group. "We are very blessed to have this business," Porter said. Commission Vice President Dan Franklin said the company conducts business the same way he does as an elected official. "When you call, they answer the phone," Franklin said. "They are a pillar of the community." Caroline County State's Attorney Joe Riley said "driven to serve" is not just a slogan for the company, but a way of life. "It shows in everything you do," Riley said.

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