Van Horn family gives back to area
By Mary Matsumoto
Mary Matsumoto photo
Joann (Van Horn) Wieland and Teresa Van Horn stand in front of a photo of their brother, Tom.

The name Van Horn means more than car dealerships.

The name represents a family who believes in giving back to the community, whether that involves making monetary donations or getting right out there, rolling up their sleeves, and working side by side with others to help out where their efforts are most needed. They’ve been doing this for almost 50 years.

The first of three generations, Joe Van Horn, started from the bottom in 1966 and built his business up with hard work and commitment.

Joe had moved from Chicago to adopt Plymouth as his new home. To feed his family of eight, he purchased Wagner Chevrolet on the corner of Factory and Schwartz and opened his first dealership. Then, in 1977, he relocated to Eastern Avenue near STH 57, where the business is currently located. In the next 35 years, the company grew and flourished, both under Joe’s ownership and, later, his son Chuck’s.

Today the company operates in six locations.

As their dealership grew, however, the Van Horns have always played an intricate role in the community, feeling a deep desire to give back in any way they can.

Special interest in young people

Teresa Van Horn, one of Joe’s daughters and dealer of Van Horn Chevrolet, has a special interest in young people, having four children of her own. She volunteers for school events and acts as coach. The youths are the building blocks of the future. By showing an active interest in their welfare, the entire community benefits in the long run, she said.

“While we are here, we should share our talent, time and treasure with others,” she said. “We should do whatever we can to make our community better.”

Chuck Van Horn, Teresa’s brother and father of a daughter of his own, has volunteered for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program for almost 15 years, showing that he, too, demonstrates an interest in young people.

“Our family values carry over into all we do,” said the Van Horns, “and we eagerly engage ourselves in opportunities to use our resources to enhance and aid the lives of others.”

Intergenerational center started

Over the years, the projects and community events the Van Horns have involved themselves in are too numerous to mention. One recent undertaking, however, is the completion of the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition which involved some $150,000 to get that initiative off the ground. Joann (Van Horn) Wieland, another Van Horn sibling, was instrumental in getting that

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