Mazda Heroes’ program giving 50 sports cars to inspiring Americans

Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey weighs in on Toyota-Mazda’s decision to open a $1.6 billion plant in Huntsville, and whether this could be the start of the country’s return to manufacturing.

Mazda is celebrating selfless Americans this holiday season by giving those who give back new sports cars.

Through its ‘Mazda Heroes: Honoring The Human Spirit’ program, the automaker has chosen 50 people who were nominated for their outstanding community service this year in the spirit of the Japanese value of putting other’s needs first, known as omotenashi, and is gifting each a 100th Anniversary Special Edition MX-5 Miata.

“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,” MNAO President Jeff Guyton said in a release.

Jason Erdreich was nominated by his wife, Cara, for his work making PPE for frontline workers and schools. (Mazda)

The first group of six recipients announced includes Jason Erdreich, a middle school shop teacher in Randolph, N.J., who marshaled a group of people with 3D printers to produce PPE for frontline workers and schools.

“Jason showed the community how to care, he inspired the one thing we need during this time: hope,” his wife Cara wrote in her nominating letter.

Also on the list is Leandro de Araujo Pessoa of Lansing, Mich., who has spent much his time and unemployment checks helping to keep a local pantry filled with food and supplies for those in need since he lost his hotel job due to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

Mazda will be releasing the names and inspiring stories of all of the honorees throughout December on its website and social media outlets.