By Kassie Parisi
MECHANICVILLE — Everybody likes Jack Byrne, it seems, and he likes them too.
The local car-selling giant was one of a handful of people recently recognized by the Mechanicville Area Community Services Center for providing community service to the surrounding area.
Each year, local town residents nominate community members or businesses they feel should be awarded recognition at the Community Hearts celebration. After reviewing the nominations, the board then selects the winners for the various categories. Based on this years nominaions, MACSC named Jack Byrne an Outstanding Community Partner.
Bryne, who grew up in Lansingburgh and has probably one of the most well known jingles in the Capital Region, has been the owner of the Jack Byrne Ford dealership in Mechanicville for 52 years. He works with two generations of his family at the store: his son and his grandsons.
“It feels great. Really great. It’s really an honor,” Byrne said of the recognition. He said that the community has given to him as well by doing business with him for so long.
The dealership has been working side by side with the community center for decades. Megan Quillinan, executive director of MACSC, said that the community partner honor represents a person or business that has gone above and beyond in giving back to the area and to MACSC. In the past, Byrne has partnered with the center for many events , including Ford’s 2016 Drive 4UR Community day, where Ford donated $20 to the center for each person who test drove a car. The dealership also holds annual coat and toy drives with the community center, along with other events with the Troy Boys and Girls Club.
“He’s just kind and genuine and wonderful,” Quillinan said. “It permeates throughout his family and business.”
“He’s an icon. He’s very giving, and caring, and humble,”Holly Latoree MACSC’s director of operations said. Quillinan also mentioned that, besides holding charity events via his dealership, he also frequently engages with the community outside of the store. Byrne frequently attends community events to photograph them.
“Jack has the best shots of the night, guaranteed. It’s little things like that. He doesn’t just say nice things about the community. He does them,” Quillinan said.
Byrne emphasized the importance of his employees in making the dealership into the community icon it has become, including his son and general manager Jack Byrne Jr., sales manager Todd Kennedy, used car manager Ed Wilcobe, service manager Bill Port, and parts manager Karl Span.
Byrne’s actions set the tone for other employees at the dealership as well. Darlene Spall, who has been at the dealership for 40 years, won the Outstanding Volunteer award from the MACSC. Year round, she shops for coats, toys, and school gear for underprivileged children who utilize the community center. Spall said it was a wonderful honor to be recognized, but that her work isn’t a chore for her.
“The dealership has always been huge in helping the community,” Spall said. “It’s part of being part of the dealership. It’s what we do here.”