A Special Message from VADA President and CEO Don Hall
A few weeks ago, my friend Mike Charapp called me and stated quite directly: “Don, I’m going to die.”
I was taken back by his words, offered him comfort, but within a few days he was back at his desk working again.
A few weeks later, I got another call from his daughter: Mike died. And he did so in a manner he long said he would: at his desk, working for dealers. A few days after our annual convention, I and a small delegation of Virginia dealer representatives — VADA past chair Art Hudgins, our longtime financial adviser Kevin Wood, and VADA general manager Steve Hoffman — flew to Ponte Vedra to attend Mike’s funeral with his friends and family.
I’ve talked a lot about Mike in recent weeks. He represented and advised hundreds of automobile dealers and several dealer trade associations including those in Virginia, Utah, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. To say he had deep knowledge of our industry is an understatement; he cared for your livelihood and the zealous protection of dealers.
Mike’s passing is also a reminder that we must slow down sometimes in life, express your gratitude for others, and embrace life to the fullest. None of you got to where you are today without great relationships — mentors, business partners, customers, and of course, your friends and family. Don’t wait until it’s too late — make sure they know you appreciate them.
Along with our partners at the National Automobile Dealers Association, the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, the New Car Dealers of Utah, the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association, and our regional partners in greater Richmond (GRNCDA) and Hampton Roads (HRADA), we placed in advertisement in Mike's honor in this week's Automotive News (page 13 in the print edition). It's below, and will hang up high in our headquarters.