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Berryhill honors Waterford with resolution
California State Assemblyman Bill Berryhill of the 26th District, right, presents Manteca Ford Mercury owner Phil Waterford honoring him as businessman of the year for the district. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Phil Waterford’s emotions got the best of him Friday morning when California Assemblyman Bill Berryhill presented him with the Small Business of the Year Award for the 26th district.

It all started with Pastor Mike Dillman of the Place of Refuge who asked Waterford to take part in the 2009 Memorial Day event. hearing the stories of Vietnam and World War II veterans prompted Waterford to realize how fortunate he really was. He ended up donating money to some struggling veterans as well as giving one a new car to replace his vehicle that was ready to fall apart.,

Since then he has stepped up his community endeavors including hosting a free Christmas morning breakfast for all comers - especially the less fortunate - at his dealership that attracted nearly 400 people.

Waterford this past Memorial Day gave two veterans new cars.

 ‘You can look at my financial statements and see that I’m not really in the position to be giving away cars,” Waterford said prior to the award ceremony.  “I’ve always believed that if you do something good for someone, somebody will do something good for you.”

“All thanks to God on a day like today,” Waterford added. “We have a fantastic staff and that’s really why we’re all here today.”

 “We had been told that he was a philanthropist even when it didn’t necessarily suit him,” Berryhill said.  “He has a character that the people of the community love and appreciate,”

“That’s not something that you see every day, “ Berryhill said.“It’s people like this in the district that help make where we live a special place, and that’s why we’re giving Mr. Waterford an award for his meritorious service.

Johnny Umipeg, who has spent more than 30 years as an employee, was also honored with a special plaque by Ford Motor Company President Alan Mulally.