An automobile dealership with deep roots in South King County is calling on the community to help support the many nurses in the region who are working around the clock to care for men, women, and children stricken with various illnesses, including COVID-19.

Since the coronavirus outbreak struck in Washington State in January, medical staff have been at the frontlines, often working long hours with few breaks and opportunities to shop for themselves or their families. By the time hard-working nurses leave work, stores have been picked through, leaving shelves bare where necessities like bread, cleaning wipes, and toilet paper should be.

That’s where the team at Bowen Scarff Ford Lincoln in Kent stepped in, launching a campaign to help nurses get the necessities they need, along with ready-to-eat foods to nourish them when they have just a few minutes to spare during their long days.

The name Scarff has been synonymous with trusted auto dealers in the greater Seattle area since 1922 when owner Mark Scarff’s grandfather Wayland opened his first Ford dealership in Auburn. Wayland’s own father moved to the area in 1885 from Vermont.

“Wayland’s dad worked for the railroad company and his job was to acquire the land rights for the telephone pole lines,” Mark said. “He kept moving westward, purchasing land, and ended up settling in Seattle.”

Wayland’s first career didn’t involve wheels, but wings. He was the 77th employee hired by Boeing. He eventually left Boeing to pursue his passion for the Model T Ford, which was gaining in popularity. He opened his first dealership and did more than sell cars to his customers.

“When Grandpa Way sold a car back then, he usually had to teach the new owner how to drive it,” Mark explained. “Most have never driven a car and were coming out of the ‘horse and buggy’ days.”

Mark’s grandfather opened Scarff Motors on Main Street in 1922, laying the cornerstone for what would become Auburn’s Auto Row. Wayland and his customers were cash poor during The Great Depression, so they bartered instead, trading services and goods, including farm animals, for sales and servicing of new Model T’s.

The Scarff family has been involved with the community since the dark days of The Great Depression, and Mark grew up considering the community as an extended family.

“We have always supported our community because that is where we live and work. Kent is where I went to school and our four kids did, too. It’s important that we help others and help our community,” Mark stressed.

Bowen Scarff Ford Lincoln regularly partners with local food banks and Toys for Joy, and sponsors numerous events benefitting the Kent School District and its students.

The team’s latest project is a GoFundMe campaign to support nurses working around the clock at Valley Medical Center in Renton and MultiCare hospitals in Covington and Auburn. The money raised will be used to regularly deliver food to keep the nursing staff nourished on the job, along with the necessities they haven’t had time to shop for because of their extended shifts.

Valley Medical holds a special place in Mark’s heart.

“My four children were all born at Valley Medical and my father (Bowen Scarff) served on the hospital’s Board of Commissioners for many years.”

The COVID-19 crisis has caused businesses around the globe to close or severely scale back operations, and Bowen Scarff Ford Lincoln is no exception. They’ve closed their sales operations for the time being (the staff is still being paid). Their service department is considered an essential business, so it remains open, to ensure that everyone, from first responders to delivery drivers, has vehicles that are running smoothly during this critical time.

Even as they tighten their belts, the team at Bowen Scarff Ford Lincoln is reaching out, not as a business, but as a neighbor helping other neighbors through a challenging time. Employees volunteer to help shop for and deliver goods to the hospitals, as well as donating to the cause.

Mark explains why it’s so important to be there for their community, especially during the most challenging times.

“A strong, healthy community means better education for our children and safety in our neighborhoods. Our community is everything.”

Learn more about the GoFundMe campaign here.

Connect with Bowen Scarff Ford Lincoln on Facebook

The GoFundMe campaign was spotlighted by Chris Cashman of KING5 News for his ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ feature:

Scott Schaefer

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