Mr. Philip Long's story began in 1918 in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he lived until the eighth grade. He spent his high school years at Principia Academy and college years at Principia College in Missouri, graduating in 1940. After just one year of law school at the University of Michigan, Mr. Long enlisted in the United States Navy.
World War II was raging and in 1942, Mr. Long mastered his training as a Hellcat fighter pilot in the South Pacific. He successfully flew 120 missions from the USS Enterprise, the most decorated ship of this era. He was also shot down twice. The USS Enterprise and Task Force 58 spent nearly a month in the Mariana Islands, preparing for and supporting the Saipan landings on 15 June 1944, striking targets on Guam and Rota, and engaging in the greatest carrier aircraft battle in history: the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19-20 June 1944. The USS Enterprise played a significant role in the battle: her Combat Information Center (CIC) directed much of the action during the "Turkey Shoot" on the 19th, while an Air Group Ten search was the first to locate the Japanese fleet on the afternoon of the 20th. The growing number of successful night air missions, led by the Big E' VF(N)-101 and VT-10 squadrons is notable. During this campaign Task Force 58 was attacked by the aircraft of the Japanese Fleet in successive waves. Lt. Commander M.P. Long and the USS Enterprise Hellcat (task force) fighters joined the Combat Air Patrol in intercepting the Japanese attacks and bombing Orote Airfield on Guam. Throughout the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Task Force Fighters carried out strikes on Guam and the Pagan Islands neutralizing enemy airfields and destroying defense guns and military installations.
Due to these dangerous yet successful missions Mr. Long was a highly decorated soldier, receiving the Air Medal and Gold Star award for multiple meritorious achievements and heroic acts during aerial flight; and the Navy and Marine Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing a mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions.
In September 1945, Mr. Long was honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. One month later, he and R. Doenges purchased Vollmer Brothers Ford and changed the name to Doenges-Long Ford, thus beginning more than a half century legacy of car dealerships. By 1964 he bought out Doenges, changed the name to Phil Long Ford, Inc. and moved the dealership to what is now known as Motor City.
In 1975, Philip Long brought in Jay Cimino as his partner, general manager and eventually company CEO. Ask anyone who knows Jay Cimino, and it's immediately clear how deep his contributions to the fabric of communities throughout the Front Range run.
Mr. Cimino's story begins in 1936. Born and raised in Trinidad, Colorado. He spent his high school years in Parochial School, excelled in football, baseball and track & field. After graduating in 1954, Mr. Cimino joined the Marine Corp. and served in the MP / Security outfit and was known throughout his company as a "jack of all trades".
After the Marine Corp., Mr. Cimino attended Trinidad Community College in Colorado, receiving his Associates degree. He then went on to attend the University of Denver, made the Deans List and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. Immediately after graduating from the University of Denver, he married Emily Roitz and went to work for BF Goodrich as a Territory Manager for the Front Range (Colorado, New Mexico & Kansas), remaining until 1965 when he moved to Pueblo and worked his way up from a finance clerk to New Car Manager at Jess Hunter Ford. In 1972, Jay moved his family to Santa Fe, NM and took on the role of General Manager and Partner of the Santa Fe Buick, Pontiac, GMC dealership until 1975. Under the direction of his friend and mentor Mr. Philip Long, Jay joined Phil Long Ford in 1975 as the General Manager. Over the years he earned multiple promotions ultimately leading to his current position as President and CEO of the Phil Long family of Dealerships, which now consists of 10 franchises and 25 establishments in Denver, Colorado Springs, Trinidad, and Raton, NM.
Sadly, Mr. Philip Long passed away in July of 2001, but his life's work and legacy continues to flourish through his reputation and passion for solid business practices, solid long-term relationships and commitment to the community as well as the military community. To pay tribute to Mr. Long and where the legacy began, Jay campaigned for and received Colorado Historic Landmark status for the "Phil Long Ford" signature sign on top of Motor City.
It is clear why Mr. Long put the company in the hands of his partner and friend, Jay Cimino - CEO and President of Phil Long Dealerships. Mr. Cimino's giving nature is a true reflection of the man he is in both his personal and business life. Committed to improving the quality of life for all citizens, he nurture's and inspires ideas that benefit our community.
Jay is a man of creative nature; he inspires new thoughts and processes, and improves on those already existing. In 2008 Jay implemented a partnership with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD). The idea was simple... Reduce * Reuse * Recycle. A team of Phil Long Ford Master Technicians dismantled, rebuilt, and restored eleven battered and bruised Crown Victoria patrol cruisers to brand new condition, ultimately saving tax payers more than $200,000. This is truly an innovative concept, as Phil Long is the first Ford Dealership in the Nation to offer this unique service.
His leadership gave life to the Phil Long Community Fund (PLCF) in 1991, which provides grants for 501c3 youth based organizations. The mission of the PLCF is to sponsor activities and resources that champion the self-esteem and performance of youth in their pursuit of excellence in education, sports and recreation. Since its inception, the Phil Long Community Fund has granted over 2 Million Dollars to youth organizations across the Front Range.
The Phil Long Community Fund teamed up with John Walsh (from America's Most Wanted) to host the DNA Lifeprint & Safety Days. With help from the police, fire, sheriff and ambulance departments, we provided families with an opportunity to safeguard their children through DNA & fingerprint sample kits. Over a 4 year period, the PLCF provided more than 4,000 children with DNA Sample Kits.
Jay personally inspired the idea of the "Fantasy Playground" project. With the support of his friend Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos' Charities, the first "Fantasy Playground" was built in 1996. Since that time 10 fantasy playgrounds, 2 athletic fields, a teen center, and a world class Skate park have been built:
Children from each community selected for a playground have creative input on some level of the actual design. Phil Long employee's rally around this project and turn out in full force along with hundreds of community volunteers. 3 days of teamwork from people of all different walks of life create a safe place for children to play, and provides increased recreational opportunities for youth and family from all income levels.
When the September 11th attacks occurred, Jay was the first in Colorado Springs to step forward with donations and assistance to the American Red Cross through the Phil Long Family of Dealerships. His actions led the way for the media and thousands of other businesses to band together in a time of national crisis and raise more than $600,000 in a 12-hour period. As the first anniversary of 9-11 approached, Jay brought the community together for a Patriots Day Silent Memorial March. He encouraged all Phil Long employees and their families, city administration and the business community to participate in this statement of solidarity and patriotism. Several hundred people attended the Silent Memorial March in Colorado Springs and the Silent Memorial in Denver.
Jay Cimino's resolution to champion our civil servant heroes reaches out to the International Association of Firefighters to provide vehicle and volunteer assistance for the annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial, annual contributions to the Colorado Springs and Denver Police Association, and community service activities, such as community CPR and First Aid training days with American Medical Response.
The Phil Long Family of Dealerships supports the troops and their families. Through every war since the dealership opened 65 years ago Phil Long Dealerships has provided emergency automobile assistance to soldiers and families of deployed soldiers. After 9-11 Jay reinstated a program called "Operation Home Support" which provides assistance for mechanical services and other transportation emergencies, roadside help, vehicle rental and when needed vehicle replacement. In addition, spouses receive the same discount pricing that Phil Long Associates enjoy on all service and parts and other maintenance. Jay resolved to keep "Operation Home Support" intact until all of our soldiers return home.
In 2004, the Phil Long Family of Dealerships partnered with Ft. Carson and hosted the 229th Army Birthday Ball. Over 3,000 guests attended (1,000 civilians and 2,000 soldiers), with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard B. Meyers as our keynote speaker. The gala made history as the biggest event of its kind to ever be held in Colorado Springs, and also received recognition as the 2nd largest Army Birthday Ball in the nation, second only to Washington, D.C. In addition to the Ball, to acknowledge all active, reserve and veteran military forces for their dedication to ensuring freedom for all, we created the "Defenders of Freedom" community exhibit. A dramatic journey of past and present wars and conflicts, the exhibit showcased "Legacy Lane" featuring memorabilia, a memorial for fallen soldiers, audio/visual displays of combat soldiers and veterans sharing their experiences highlighted by a 60' pictorial wall of dramatic, unpublished military photos, and a full static display of military armor, weapons, tanks and helicopters. The "Defenders of Freedom" exhibit also produced the military appreciation signing wall, which went on tour throughout Colorado in order to gather messages from the community. The signing wall was then presented to General Wilson and the troops at Ft. Carson for permanent display.
While his contributions have touched many communities throughout the Front Range, Jay's love for his hometown is apparent through his giving nature and energy for inspiring growth and change in the City of Trinidad. His passion and optimism led him to conceive the idea of the Trinidad Community Foundation (TCF), and then provide the seed money for the foundation.
That same passion fueled the partnership with the Trinidad State Junior College. With a donation of more than a half million dollars, a first-of-its-kind auto mechanic curriculum was established featuring a fully operational 15,000 square foot service facility, state-of-the-art equipment for gas and diesel engine repair, faculty members and even dormitories. In addition to the grant, the Cimino's established a scholarship fund for this program; a percentage of the gross earnings of the shop are applied to the fund.
In 2007, to thank Jay for his vision and contribution to the revitalization of the "City of Champions/City of Opportunity", the City of Trinidad honored him and his wife Emily by naming the new city park "The Jay Cimino Downtown Family Park and Playground".
Most recently his vision to enrich the lives of the people of Southern Colorado has come to fruition through the opening of the Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness, and Community Center. A project that has been a few years in the making, Mt. Carmel will bring integrated healthcare to Southern Colorado and forever change the landscape of medical and behavioral care in the region. www.mtcarmelwellness.org
Jay Cimino's philanthropic efforts often go unnoticed due to his modest approach. However, he has received well deserved recognition including the El Pomar Foundations prestigious Gov. John A. Love Award; Ford Motor Company's Salute to Dealers Award; the Citizen Meritorious Service Award; The Columbine Individual Citation Award; The John Venezia Memorial Award; The Council for College Resource Development Award; and the Partners in Philanthropy Outstanding Individual Donor Award. In 2009 Jay receive what he says is his highest achievement yet, presented by the Jesuits of Regis University, the CIVIS PRINCEPS.
Last year, Jay received the highest honor from Fort Carson given to a civilian...the Good Neighbor Award. It represents Mr. Cimino's strong bond and commitment to the troops. After receiving this great honor, he launched the "Good Neighbor Campaign" to help organizations that provide direct assistance to Fort Carson soldiers and their families; The Home Front Cares, Citizen Soldier Connection, and Wounded Warriors. Over a seven week period the campaign brought in $70,000 in donations from employees and the community.
Jay's most recent contribution to the troops is a $100,000 donation to Fort Carson's Resiliency Campus in the form of a serenity water feature and water jet play area. It will be in the center of the campus and will be adjacent to the center's playground. The water feature is in honor of Mr. Long and his military service and also to the soldiers and family members who have committed to defending and preserving freedom at home and abroad. The resiliency campus and the water feature opened on May 3, 2012.
For 67 years, Jay has continued a partnership with the United Way. Through corporate and employee donations we have raised nearly two Million dollars for the Pikes Peak and Mile High United Way campaigns in the past decade alone. This year to expand our giving practices Jay re- launched the "Good Neighbor Campaign" but opened it up to more than military charities. This campaign will benefit six charities; the United Way, Care & Share, the Marian House, the Home Front Cares, LifeQuest Transitions, and Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness, and Community Center. Nearly $100,000 was raised in six weeks through employee and customer contributions!
In addition to the Good Neighbor Holiday Campaign...the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Silver Key Senior Services, Meals on Wheels, American Red Cross, Toys for Tots, MADD, National Mill Dog Rescue, The Humane Society, Veteran's Associations, the Military community, College's throughout Colorado, and many more also benefit greatly from Jay and his partners generosity through Phil Long Dealerships.
Most recently, Colorado Springs experienced one of the deadliest wildfires in Colorado history. The Waldo Canyon Fire affected many Phil Long employees; some lost homes or had moderate to severe smoke damage, many were evacuated and displaced. Jay and Mike Cimino felt it was of the utmost importance to protect and help Phil Long employees first. An employee emergency assistance hotline, website, and fund was established to provide immediate help with cash, shelter, pets, time off, and whatever else they needed. The second step of the plan was to provide help to the Fire Department, Emergency Operations Center, and Red Cross by providing more than 30 trucks and cars to assist in the fire fight. In addition, our Ford and Chevy service departments and technicians volunteered to be on call 24/7 to fix fire trucks, emergency response vehicles, and other emergency vehicles fighting the wildfires. The third step was community outreach by way of food, water, clothing, and other immediate need items. Although the Waldo Canyon Fire is fully contained the aftermath and recovery will be a long process. Our community, our employees, our business...all are resilient and strong and will recover; and Jay and Mike Cimino have committed to full support for Phil Long employees as well as our community for as long as needed.
The strength of the Phil Long Family of Dealerships in such a competitive industry is the result of its ongoing commitment to Philip Long's vision ~ Commitment to the community, quality customer service and exceptional value. Over the years, the Phil Long Family of Dealerships has received numerous industry awards for record-breaking sales, superior customer service, innovative design and presentation, state of the art facilities, community service, design, development and more. Customers continue to return and refer because of this strong commitment to providing quality products, service and effort.
Philip Long and Jay Cimino's vision for this company, its employees and the community is inspirational. Passionate commitment to ensure the success of the company as well as helping to build strong communities will be the legacy of the Phil Long Family of Dealerships.
Written By: Michelle M. Hill, Corporate Communications Manager - Phil Long Dealerships