Arab American businessman receives Spirit of Detroit Award
By Natasha Dado | Saturday, 09.11.2010, 09:06 PM

DETROIT - Local businessman Hussein Bazzi, 41, was presented with the Spirit of Detroit award on Thursday, Sep. 9 for his service and generosity to the community that neighbors his BP gas station located between Chicago and Schaefer in Detroit.

Bazzi, who is a board member of the Tri-County Business Committee, which was formed to advance Arab American business in Detroit, said the award was a surprise as he didn't know about it until the day before he received it.

Spirit of Detroit Award winner Hussein Bazzi poses with his assistant manager, Tia Tyson, at his BP gas station in Detroit. Photo: courtesy of Hussein Bazzi
It's such a good feeling, and a great honor, Bazzi said.  Hundreds of people attended the award ceremony, which took place at Bazzi's gas station. Bazzi has owned and operated the business for more than five years.  The award was given to Bazzi by spokesman Ray Solomon on behalf of Detroit City Councilwoman, Brenda Jones.  Jones learned about Bazzi from Carol Brooks, a local community member.

"We in the community want him to know how much we appreciate his thoughtfulness, and the respect he and his employees show his customers," said Brooks. 

Bazzi has sponsored Customer Appreciation Day (CAD) for more than three years. CAD takes place every summer, and has become well known at his station. The goal of CAD is to thank the Chicago-Schaefer community for their business as Mr. Bazzi provides hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks, water, chips and candy to customers. CAD is also accompanied by music, games and fun activities for children in the residing community.

"I do this to show support for my customers, why not give back to the people that help you out? " Bazzi said.

Bazzi was also recognized for employing customers at the business.

"Usually business owners hire people from outside the city, but he hires the locals. He has given so much to the community, he gives donations, and helps people from the neighborhood. No one forces him, he just does it. Brenda Jones believes in honoring people who are committed to the city like he is," Soloman said. 

Bazzi is always willing to give back to the community, and is constantly showing appreciation to Detroiters. Bazzi gave away 75 turkeys to the needy during Thanksgiving, and has thrown fundraisers for the needy. He has also organized senior citizen breakfasts.

"I feel great, it brings me a lot of joy. It's a good feeling," Bazzi said. In one fundraiser, Bazzi raised enough money to give to a local family to pay for their child's burial, which they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. 

The McFarlane School District in Detroit near his gas station also thanked him recently, showing appreciation for Bazzi's positive influence on the community.

Bazzi is a member of the Barton-McFarlane Community Association and recently purchased an abandoned bar and three vacant homes near his gas station because they were a security risk to the community. Bazzi said the facilities were used to conduct drug deals.

"It was a haven for bad things to happen, "Bazzi said.  Bazzi has also contributed to communities located near some of his other businesses.

But he doesn't do all the work himself. He gets help from lots of people, particularly his associate Ali Achour.

He's my right hand man, Bazzi said.

"I would have to say to other businesses, show your customers respect and you're going to see it back. The best feeling is the love of people."

By Natasha Dado

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