| -

LOS ANGELES — The Southern California Honda Dealers Association was inundated again — not only in the amount of nominations but also the quality of community-benefitting work done by individuals in the running for its Honda Helpful Awards.

Now in its fourth year, the association received more than 700 nominations for its Honda Helpful Awards in which each winner will receive a new Honda vehicle. Member dealerships took nominations up to Nov. 1 either through online submission, standard mail delivery or drop-off boxes inside of showrooms.

To nominate an individual, the person had to be a California resident and the award application needed to include a written explanation of why the person deserved a new Honda. Furthermore, the nominator had to explain how a new vehicle could benefit the person's mission and which model would be most appropriate.

The program was promoted not only at participating dealerships, but also through a variety of local and national volunteer organizations and online communities, in addition to the "Honda Guys and Girls in Blue" field teams.

Association officials gave a glimpse into the work done by this year's selections. One winner is personally funding a foster care placement and recruitment service. Another individual is developing programs to keep children drug and alcohol free, while yet another winner is teaching children to be active and involved in their communities to help build self-esteem.

When it comes to previous award winners, one created a reading program at local schools using therapy dogs to help strengthen youngsters' reading skills. Another recipient formed rehabilitation programs for homeless veterans. And yet another past winner launched an organization that provides food, shelter and job placement programs for recovering addicts and victims of domestic abuse.

The association will hand out the vehicles to this year's winners on Jan. 20 during an invitation-only event at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles

"For the third year in a row, I am humbled by the caliber of nominees and the selflessness of each," noted Matt Tachdjian, president of the Southern California Honda Dealers Association.

"The spirit of the awards allows us to honor local heroes who do their part to help out in the community, not for the recognition but for the benefit of others," Tachdjian went on to say.

"It's exciting to be able to celebrate individuals each year who embody the message of helpful," he added.