Usually recognized as the owner of Carmel Trophies Plus, or the tireless volunteer for the Carmel Dads’ Club Special Sports Program for disabled children, Ford Wilson was a singular fixture in the Carmel community.
Recently honored for his involvement with the Special Sports Program with the Hometown Hero Award sponsored by Williams Comfort Air, Ford helped make the Soap Box Derby a major event for the community during the past 12 years.
Wilson died Sept. 30 from cancer.
“Ford was a unique exception,” said Carrie Hutnicke, the commissioner of the Special Sports Program and friend of Ford’s for over 20 years. “As a parent with a special needs child, I know that in only a few instances do we really get people who reach out to our kids, who don’t have special-needs children of their own. Ford Wilson was one of these people. He loved the kids and had such a big heart, and they all loved him back.”
Wilson was an unwilling public figure, always hesitant to accept credit for his work for the Carmel Dads’ Club and the kids he supported.
“We all found it really funny that when Ford was to be introduced and to help pass awards at the Soapbox Derby, no one could find him. We would eventually find him and put him in the limelight,” Hutnicke said.
The children involved with the Special Sports Program especially benefited from Wilson’s sense of humor and positive persona, and his ability to treat them as he would anyone else.
“Ford had a very youthful personality,” said Suzanne Mandel, a special sports volunteer. “He always had a twinkle in his eye, just like the kids on Derby Day. He was excited as they were.”
Carmel Trophies Plus, Wilson’s shop on South Range Line Road, has become as much of a staple in the community, as its owner.
“When I think of Ford Wilson, I think of the consummate local businessman, who would go above and beyond for customers and the community,” said customer Rick Myers.
Carmel Trophies Plus’s motto was much like Ford Wilson’s involvement in Carmel: Award Them Well. He was always there to give the most support and assistance to his customers, the Carmel Dads’ Club, and his community.