Alabama woman receives national Mazda award for helping homeless during pandemic


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A woman from Madison is dedicated to helping the homeless community during the pandemic. Now, she is being recognized in a way she never would have dreamed of.

Whether she agrees that she is a hero or not, Carolyn Dodson is being recognized as one – for acts of kindness towards the homeless and elderly – by car manufacturer Mazda as part of their ‘Mazda Heroes: Honoring the Human Spirit’ program.

It’s a new car giveaway in celebration of Mazda’s 100th Anniversary, and is awarded to someone who has championed selflessness throughout the pandemic. Dodson received her car Saturday morning at Hiley Mazda of Huntsville.

General Manager Michael Ponter said Dodson’s selflessness is an example for everyone.

“Someone who takes the time out of their day to care about and love other individuals and go outside of themselves is something we all need to take heed of and learn from.”

Only 50 people across the country were selected.

“The state of Alabama got two,” Ponter said.

Dodson had no idea her daughter had secretly nominated her for the award, thinking it was a scam when she was contacted by Mazda requesting more information from their finalist.

“I thought, ‘I don’t give out my personal information.’ I had no idea, and then my daughter let me know, ‘Mom did you get an email? Because this is legit,’” Dodson said.

Her daughter noted Dodson goes out of her way every day to make sure those in need are fed and cared for, not only as a church and nonprofit volunteer, but by constantly giving away individual care bags to anyone she thinks may need one.

“We’re all thinking about ourselves right now and that’s understandable, but you can’t forget that population,” Dodson said.

She stated she is grateful and humbled to receive the car, but she hopes this event can inspire others to get outside of themselves and know how they can help the community,” she said.

“If this can encourage people to help the homeless, to help the needy, to do something and realize, ‘I can do something, I can give money, I’m going to the grocery store anyway so let’s stock up.’ Get some gift certificates to keep in the car. You need to be armed so you can help people and be prepared,” Dodson said.

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