A big change happened at Beach Ford just in time for the Oceana Air Show. From ground level, the dealership will appear largely the same, but from above, pilots of Air Station Oceana will see a message of constant support brought to life in patriotic red white and blue print. Beach Ford has covered the entire roof of the Service Reception Center with a sign that reads “Go Navy!”
Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach expects to draw more than 280,000 visitors from all over the country between the 15th and 17th of September for its annual Air Show. Pilots of local squadrons and the world renowned Blue Angels will notice a new addition to the Virginia Beach skyline from a birds-eye view. Navy airmen will be able to spot the sign for years to come, the signage is expected to stand up to the elements for 8 years or more.
Beach Ford is no stranger to showing support for the armed forces. “Our support of the military is a big part of what makes up the Beach Ford Family. We regularly do welcome home messages for battlegroups when they come in. It’s a sincere expression of how we feel about those who serve our country and that’s just something we will continue to do,” said the owner of Beach Ford, Tom Barton, III.
The nearly 40-year-old dealership routinely sponsors events that support veterans and the local community like Virginia Beach Fallen Heroes, a fundraising event which provides support and assistance to the families of fallen Naval Special Warfare Operators (SEALS). You will also routinely see the dealership fly the Honor and Remember Flag to show support for the military men and women who risked and ultimately gave their lives in the line of duty.
The dealership is heavily involved in the community and Tom Barton, III was honored with the Lenora Mathews Lifetime Achievement Award by Volunteer Hampton Roads this April. Barton has been described as a “Virginia Beach Boy” who is dedicated to the community and supports local organizations and events like the well-known Neptune Festival, and the Beach Ford All-American Run which provides much needed support for cultural and educational programs and activities at Kingston Elementary School.
“Here in Hampton Roads, the military community is the community,” said Barton, “there are many unsung heroes, men and women who come and go without fanfare while doing the job of protecting us. We want the military to know that we appreciate them greatly, and this is just one way we can do that.”
Employees of the dealership have kept tight lips on the project until now and there is noticeable relief among the staff in being able to share the news with neighbors. Lynn Gragg of the dealership said “I can’t wait to tell my Navy neighbors! I know a few retired Navy pilots in my neighborhood who I think will be stoked!”