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A Century of Commitment

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:59 AM CDT
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ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - Tony Russell wanted to be a football player, which he was for the Auburn Tigers, but never really dreamed of being in the automobile business.

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

Kelsey Wilhoite grew up around a car family and eventually followed the legacy. Today, they are part of a team that has been selling cars in Calhoun County for 100 years, but it’s about more than the next car sold. It is part of the ongoing story of Sunny King Ford.

“In 1922, J.F. King and E.D. King were brothers, and they took over ownership of the existing Ford franchise here in Anniston. It later became King Motor Company and it’s now known today as Sunny King Ford. And he was the personality and the advertising genius and the fun for Sunny King Ford for a long time,” explained Kelsey.

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

It is a Ford story 100 years in the making, and Kelsey’s family has been a big part of it for a long time. “Both of my parents have worked with The King Organization for 35 plus years, so I grew up here. My mom was pregnant with me when she started working here, so I’ve been around it my whole life.”

Russell came to the team a little later. “I had a very, very successful career at Adamson Ford. August of 2017, I came aboard of Sunny King. I never look back and I enjoy every day of it. Miss King, Patty King, she represents the car business totally different, and when I say community involvement, love people, just everything. She loves ethically, sound business and it really, really inspires to want to work for her.”

Today Patricia King continues the legacy of family and Fords.

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

“Under Sunny King’s leadership, Sunny King Ford really became a household name around here, and not just for the vehicles they provided for the community, but for his involvement with the community. Sunny was instrumental in helping bring the Super Speedway to Talladega when they were looking for a place to locate it. One of the biggest things that he did and continues today is the Sunny King Charity Golf Classic, and that’s one of the largest charity golf tournaments in the Southeast, raising over $2 million dollars since it started for local charities. So that’s one of the biggest parts of his legacy,” says Kelsey.

Russell added, “I just enjoy being a part of the history of just being here.”

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