It is a great privilege to represent our worldwide Dwyer family as I accept this award together on behalf of our father, Don Dwyer, Sr. Had he lived to see this day, he would consider this one of the greatest honors of his lifetime. And that just tells you how passionate he was about the free enterprise system. His mission statement was to teach his principles and systems of personal and business success so that all people he touched would live happier more successful lives. He would cherish this award not for what he, himself, was able to achieve, but for the bigger message that this award conveys: That his companies have been successful in providing a livelihood for so many others to reach their personal and professional dreams through the business of franchising. And although he was called to Heaven earlier in life than we would have liked, Don Dwyer’s legacy continues in the growth and strength of The Dwyer Group and nationwide in the VetFran program that lives on today.
To say that Don Dwyer was a visionary is an understatement. All great companies and great franchise programs first begin with big ideas. And it takes an unbelievable amount of courage to be the leader who champions those big ideas. Our founder and father did that time and time again. He was convinced that he’d live to be 100 and although he died at the ripe age of 60, we say that due to his clear vision and passion, he squeezed 100 years of life into his 60 years.
I think I speak for my whole family, especially our mother, Theresa Dwyer, when I say that our father’s commitment to this industry was so big that we often saw very little of him when we were younger. He was busy building companies, traveling to see franchisees, or going oversees on IFA mission trips for foreign expansion. When he had a goal, he worked hard to reach it. He also believed that his children had to start at the bottom and earn their way – so at the ages of 12 and 13 each of us had responsibilities in his businesses. And today I am here with my brother Doug Dwyer and his wife Gayla, and my beautiful daughter, Dani Owens. Doug owns his own franchise company, DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen.
Don Dwyer’s work not only affected our immediate family, but also the families of everyone who worked at The Dwyer Group — the franchisees and their families, the military veterans who would become business owners, the master franchisees who would take our franchise brands abroad and countless others. So it is with great pride that we stand up here today to recognize a man who we know has touched so many lives. A man who has made a positive and lasting impact in the world of franchising. And perhaps most importantly, a man whose biggest dream was helping people achieve their dreams — and creating franchise companies as the vehicle to do so.
We want to thank Mitch Schlimer and the induction committee for inducting Don Dwyer into the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame which puts him in the history books with some incredible entrepreneurs, all great leaders in their own remarkable ways. And I have to add that in addition to this honor today, we at The Dwyer Group look forward to honoring Don Dwyer every single day back at home in Waco, Texas, by carrying on his mission and supporting our 1,600 franchise locations in 9 countries around the world. Don believed that together everyone achieves more and our team makes it happen inWaco everyday.
And, although you may not even know it, perhaps you, too, are honoring Don Dwyer if you are one of the more than 455 franchisors who participates in the IFA’s VetFran program that continues to champion his idea of giving back to our veterans, granting financial incentives to men and women of the military who dream of owning their own business. Today, more than 6,600 veterans have become small business owners because of Don’s vision.
Lastly, let me close by saying that I think if Don Dwyer were up here to accept this award and speak to you today, he would say that it’s a privilege to be part of an entrepreneurial community that empowers so many people, that provides jobs for so many and in franchising – a community that delivers a world of opportunity for thousands of men and women to go after and secure financial freedom, that makes the idea of business ownership a reality across the globe. If he could look out across this crowd today, he would see friends who have the same passion and appreciation for the free enterprise system that he had, and he would know that the future of America is alive and well throughout this room.
Thank you and may God bless you all.