Chancellor's Community Recognition Award
Bob Saunders was born in Duncan in 1935, the fourth of five children. Through the depression years, he worked at his father's automotive business and there learned the importance of treating customers fairly and honestly. In 1956, Mr. Saunders married Norma and together they raised five children in the old farm house they still call home. The family grew all their own vegetables there and raised chickens, cows and pigs.
When his children were young, Bob Saunders worked as a pipefitter and welder on ships and at mills. This work kept him away from home so he decided to go back to the car business to be closer to family and community. Mr. Saunders worked first in sales, frequently earning top honours. Then, he opened his own used car lot on the Old Island Highway in Colwood not far from the dealership he now owns - Saunders Subaru - which he founded in 1978.
At a very young age, Bob Saunders realized the importance of giving back to the community and today he proudly supports arts and theatre programs as well as Chamber of Commerce activities and local youth sports at recreational and elite levels. He partners with the local school district to offer scholarships and work experience opportunities for high school students, some of whom continue to work at his business after earning their trade qualifications. Mr. Saunders also supports numerous charitable organizations including local food banks, the Salvation Army, Victoria Hospice, CNIB, Cops for Cancer, and the Victoria Firefighters Burn Unit. His enthusiasm and interest in the community has been passed on not only to his children who give back and take on active roles within their own communities but also to his 11 grandchildren who are all keenly involved in sports and hobbies.
Bob Saunders believes strongly in taking personal responsibility for the environment. He regularly participates in Earth Day activities, for example, by heading out onto the local streets and picking up trash, encouraging staff to join him. He also keeps current on all aspects of recycling within his business.
Mr. Saunders has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his significant contributions to his community. These include a Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Confederation and, more locally, a Citizen of the Year award from the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, a Capital Families Association Community Support Recognition award, a C-FAX 1070 Citation Rose award, a CNIB Volunteer Recognition award and a number of Salvation Army Appreciation awards. Mr. Saunders has also received accolades for his dealership. His service department regularly earns Subaru's Platinum level in customer care and he has himself received numerous customer satisfaction, sales, service and parts awards.