The Ken Cota Gift of Warmth
In the late 1950’s, Ken Cota was having breakfast at a local diner when he came across a man who was down on his luck. The man couldn’t pay his rent, and was having a hard time taking care of his family. Being a generous and compassionate man, Ken knew what he had to do. When they left the diner, Ken gave the man $100 and asked him to use the money to get back on his feet. Overwhelmed by Ken’s generosity, the man told him he would never be able to repay him. It didn’t matter to Ken. He did what he could to help this family in need.
A year later, the man did get back on his feet and met with Ken to repay what he felt was his debt. Ken kindly refused and asked him to give it to another family in need. His philosophy was that if everyone could “pay it forward” at least once, it would help unite and strengthen our community.
Now in our third generation at Cota & Cota, we have never lost sight of Ken’s vision for the communities we serve. Each year, we honor the legacy of Ken Cota by awarding 200 gallons of heating fuel to a local business member. The winner of the drawing is asked to “pay it forward” by donating the fuel to a local charity or family in need. Drawings are held at Chamber of Commerce functions.
In 2012, the fuel was awarded to Steve Cormier, of WTSA. Steve was able to use his morning radio show to find the right recipient. He was humbled hearing the countless stories of struggling families, and said it was incredibly hard to have to choose just one. Casey Cota was on air with Steve the morning a family was chosen, and re-counted the story of how the Ken Cota Gift of Warmth came about. The story is a wonderful reminder of the importance of helping our neighbors in any capacity possible. Listen to Casey’s interview with Steve Cormier.