“Dave and Connie Kirk make this statement, ‘It’s not about us. It’s not what we do. It’s not what we give. It’s about what the family members of this dealership does for this community,’” said Randy Graham. 

The community succeeded in its mission to make the Kirks all agog as Dave and Connie were the subjects of a massive outpouring of love at a surprise appreciation event at Dave Kirk Automotive on July 30. 

Longtime friends Randy and Debbie Graham colluded with the Kirks’ dealership family, church family, community leaders and state dignitaries to pull off the epic surprise appreciation event. Randy Graham acknowledged that Dave Kirk may not want to be friends after this, not being a fan of such attention. 

“I was excited. I kept getting told I either needed to, ‘Bring a Taser or pepper spray because he’s going to kill us,’” said Sheriff Casey Cox. “Anybody that knows Dave Kirk knows he’s a very, very humble man.”

But, Graham also made it known that the Kirks deserve to be thanked and loved for all they do in their work, in their church and for the community. 

Cumberland County’s National Guard 278th Armored Calvary Regiment presented Dave Kirk with statue replica of a combat medic to honor his father’s service in WWII. They also made him an honorary member of the Gunslingers Regiment, outfitting him with a calvary hat and spurs. Congressman John Rose presented Kirk with a certificate of special congressional recognition and a retired flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol. State Sen. Paul Bailey and Rep. Cameron Sexton gave Kirk a proclamation of commendation. Crossville Mayor James Mayberry and Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster presented him with a distinguished service award, a key to the community, including the city and county, as well as a custom wooden ink pen. Cox presented him with a law enforcement commemorative Henry Rifle. Cumberland County Director of Schools Janet Graham gave a public thank you and announced the two high school auto shops would be named in honor of Dave Kirk and the Dave Kirk Automotive family. Crossville Fire Chief Mike Turner presented Kirk with an antique fire helmet with an honorary fire chief placard and swore him in. 

“Dave, Connie, ex-friends,” Randy Graham began, getting a laugh, “in addition to what you’ve experienced so far, this community, as you’ve already heard, love you. We really do truly love you.”

The Grahams presented Kirk with a one-of-a-kind plaque mounted with a buoy knife and complete with a Chevrolet bow tie. As “Dave’s best asset,” Debbie Graham then presented Connie Kirk with a special surprise portrait of their border collies.  

“We can’t do what we do without the people inside this dealership. I can’t do what I do without the friendships I have in this room– some of them will be ex-friendships,” Dave Kirk joked. “In all sincerity, we appreciate all the notoriety you’ve given Connie and I today. We’re here for one another, and we’re here to support one another. When it comes to the programs and things we have been involved in, it is an honor for us to be involved in those programs; be it the school system, be it the police, be it fire, be it any endeavor that we hold hands with people in this community.”

And to conclude the event, as fitting a comment as ever there was, Kirk said, “We’re just a vehicle, guys. That’s all we are. We’re just a vehicle to make sure that this community is above and beyond anything that anybody expects out of us because we are the best. We’re on this mountain and people look up here and they wonder how in the world we do certain things– as a community."