This post is also available in: Spanish
By Angela Barbosa
Photos by Geoffrey Mathews
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? …Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-17). That is the fundamental base of the Faith in the Marketplace Breakfast – to bring people together and elevate their faith to the level where prayers are said and real actions are taken.
After being welcomed by Jericho Partnership Board of Directors Stewardship Committee Chair Jeff Eberts, hundreds of guests in attendance were introduced to the keynote speaker by the organization’s retired chair, William G. Beattie.
“It is so great to see somebody who has grown up in the area do so many good things and do so well career-wise in the area where he has been born and raised,” said Beattie, while introducing Todd Ingersoll, president and CEO of Ingersoll Automotive in Danbury.
Starting out his speech by getting a good laugh from the guests while mentioning how uncommon it is to have a “car dealer speak of faith and good things…,” Ingersoll shared his own experience with faith, bringing the audience back to 1983, in Bethel, CT, when he was about to begin his journey of trials and challenges.
After joining the Navy, going to a boot camp in Great Lakes near Chicago and becoming a crewmember at the US Navy Air Station in Pensacola, FL, Ingersoll had his faith tested as he failed rescue summer school survival training. “Humiliation is a tough lesson to learn… it is more painful than a physical affliction that you can put on a person,” he shared.
So he started as a sales consultant selling Saturns in 1991, and worked his way up. “What struck me about Saturn was that it was kind of a cool company because it was based on some core values. I didn’t think I couldn’t be in the car business and lie, cheat and steal, and raise children to say ‘don’t do that.’ I need to have core values that I could believe in,” Ingersoll remembered.
Within 10 years, he owned the dealership. The 2008 financial crisis was another survival lesson for Ingersoll. Saturn closed in September of 2009, and he lost it all.
“I have the faith that we are too good to fail,” he told his wife Tami when he came back home after his last attempt to save the company. “We will be held, and we will succeed.”
And that happened, eleven short months later. Ingersoll went from no franchises to every GM franchise in the area, and Buick and GMC in Waterbury. “You can’t make that up. This was clearly a time in my life where [I took] a look back and there was one set of footprints in the proverbial sand: I was being carried.”
“Faith has been in my life and my past and it sustains me currently… and faith in fact, will take care of Jericho; faith will sustain this community…” concluded Ingersoll.
Caitlin Brock, an intern who joined Jericho this past January, also shared her overall impression of Jericho and what attracted her to Danbury.
“Jericho does not only address one aspect of the individual but it cares for the whole family,” Brock shared, adding, “God’s favorite is here. He is unifying an extremely diverse community. There is so much light in Danbury and to my surprise, so many churches. I am overwhelmed with the unity of the Body of Christ in this community.”
“By volunteering, committing to a monthly gift or praying for the city you will be joining Jericho Partnership’s efforts to transform the city through faith and deed,” said Carrie L. Amos, Jericho Partnership President.
For more information about the organization, or how to make a donation, please visit www.jerichopartnership.org or call (203) 791-1180. It is located at 13 Rose Street in Danbury, CT.