Mazda Heroes Program Awards New Car to Middle School Teacher
Mazda created the Mazda Heroes Program to honor people who’ve gone above and beyond to serve their communities during these uncertain times. Jason Erdreich, a 26-year-old middle school shop teacher, certainly fits the bill. Here’s how this innovative educator made a difference for thousands of people.
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A Mazda Hero in action
In the early days of the pandemic, when frontline healthcare workers were struggling to find enough personal protective equipment, Erdreich took action. He gathered up 15 of the school’s 3D printers, set them up in his home, and produced PPE for healthcare workers around the clock. On top of that, he trained both his students and fellow faculty members to run the printers. As a team, they produced over 12,000 pieces of PPE.
Erdreich’s wife, Cara, nominated him for the award. “I nominated you to be a Mazda hero because you were compassionate and generous in a time when people were afraid,” she told her husband, in the official Mazda video seen above. Thanks to his spirit of community service, Mazda awarded him with an MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Edition.
The look of surprise and delight Erdreich’s face said it all. “I was speechless, I mean I never could have envisioned something like this happening to me, let alone for something I did,” Erdreich stated. “I’m not really one for the spotlight, but this has been a truly incredible experience. I feel very fortunate, and I am endlessly appreciative to my colleagues, students, administrators, community members, and my wife that really helped make all of the PPE in the thick of the pandemic, and even more so for the frontline workers we were making the PPE for.”
Other Mazda Heroes
Erdreich is one of several winners who have been announced so far, with more to follow throughout December. In choosing winners, Mazda cited its core value of “omotenashi,” a Japanese phrase that means, “putting other people’s needs first.”
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“This year has been full of challenges and we wanted to lean into our brand’s heritage of finding innovative ways to brighten people’s lives,” said Jeff Guyton, president of Mazda North American Operations.
Kimiko Kidd is a native Daytonian. She graduated from Wright State University with degrees in environmental science and sociology. She loves her trusty old Honda Civic, but dreams of owning a 1974 Ford Falcon XB with a custom paint job and a vintage Kawasaki Z1000. In her free time, Kimiko can be found watercolor-painting, baking muffins, collecting rocks, playing old-school Nintendo games, writing her novel, sewing stuffed animals, and cosplaying as her favorite Mad Max characters. See more articles by Kimiko.