Royal Roads University president Allan Cahoon admits he got a little emotional seeing the sign come down when he drove by Saunders Subaru for the first time since the family announced they were selling the dealership after 36 years.
“The Saunders family is an institution on the West Shore,” he said. “From day one, Bob and the whole family have been supportive of Royal Roads and have been a good neighbour to us.”
Cahoon said the family has been an integral part of many of the projects and initiatives that have helped build a stronger community. Bob Saunders, in particular, has been a champion in his support for sports groups, community organizations and various charities, he noted, adding that what Bob has accomplished speaks to his ability to bring people together and achieve results.
“It’s been nice having someone in the community who gets things done,” Cahoon said. “Bob’s been a hospitable friend and advocate for Royal Roads University for the nine years that I’ve been here. It’s sad that part of that will be lost.”
As examples of the high regard RRU has for Saunders and the work he has done, Cahoon pointed to Saunders being chosen to receive the RRU Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award in 2010 and his selection as co-chair for the 75th anniversary President’s Gala in 2015.
“I’m sure (selling) was a difficult decision for Bob and one that he gave a lot of thought to,” Cahoon said. “It’s sad to see him go, but at 81 he’s earned it.”
Cahoon takes comfort in knowing the family has taken steps to ensure that the new owners, the Pattison Auto Group – who also have a strong reputation for community support – will continue the family’s legacy of giving back.
“I’m sure that part of the criteria in Bob’s decision was to include those kind of endeavours. He chose Pattison because he believes they’ll continue to support projects and initiatives that benefit the community.”