Investing in community

Tarver family partners with local organizations for the betterment of Southwest Louisiana

The price of new and pre-owned vehicles is going up, like everything else. According to Experian, one of the big three credit scoring agencies, the average car price now tops $34,000. That’s a considerable investment, one that calls for doing a little research before visiting the dealership.

          What car shoppers won’t find when they consult Kelly Blue Book, AutoTrader, Car and Driver or Consumer Reports is information about the values of the car dealership owner.        

          Lake Charles Toyota is owned by the Philip Tarver family. Sons, Corey Tarver and Eric Tarver, are General Manager and Chief Financial Officer.

          When you invest in a car or truck from Lake Charles Toyota, the Tarvers invest in the community. Most of their efforts bring recognition to educators, make learning opportunities available to youngsters regardless of socio economic factors, support local schools and colleges and help fund programs that keep children safe.

           For instance, Lake Charles Toyota partners with the SWLA Safe Sleep Task Force, a group of professionals, organizations and concerned individuals committed to eliminating preventable infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep environments.

          The task force is headed by Charlie Hunter, Chief Investigator for Calcasieu Parish Forensic Center. Sadly, Hunter has already investigated six infant deaths this year that could have been prevented. Calcasieu Parish is at the top of the state’s list for number of preventable deaths, according to Hunter.

          “The best way for baby to sleep is alone, on his back and in a crib,” Hunter said.

          Babies should not sleep in bed with parents. Parents have rolled over on infants, and infants can also fall into cracks and suffocate. The baby should be placed in an approved crib or playpen on a firm mattress free of bumper pads, stuffed animals, pillows or blankets.

          “Decorate every square inch of the room if that’s what you want to do,” Hunter said, “but leave the crib alone.”

          The Tarver family partners with groups throughout the community who share their values.

          Alecia Moran has been a Sulphur bus driver for 12 years. She had noticed a gradual decline in the teaching of bus safety, which worried her. After a bus stop accident, she knew she had to do something. She found out about the perfect program – Buster the Bus -- one that would engage and entertain elementary students. Lake Charles Toyota helped buy the materials.

          “I dress up for the program as a character we refer to as Silly Sally, and Buster the Bus, a bus that talks and has moving parts, helps correct me until I learn bus safety. Natasha Ritter, a DeQuincy resident who drives a Moss Bluff route operates Buster the Bus,” Moran said.

          The Tarver family has also bought into the benefits of music education. That belief is the reason Lake Charles Toyota is a three-time Presenting Sponsor for Sax in the City, a fundraiser for MusicMakers2U.

          “Musicmakers2U was started by Eva LeBlanc,” said Mickey Smith, Jr., Grammy finalist and saxophonist. “It came about when a McNeese student needed money for an instrument. Paying tuition is a challenge, but not the only financial challenge for some students.”

          LeBlanc secured an instrument for the student. The joy she saw on his face, made her want to help others, and she brought her concern to Smith. LeBlanc, Smith and others spearhead an effort to collect used instruments that can be refurbished for music students. The Lake Charles Toyota dealership also serves as one of the drop-off sites.

          Lake Charles Toyota helps sponsor Smith’s Annual Sax in the City concert, which helps raise funds to pay for the refurbishing of donated instruments.

          “Tickets for Sax on the City are on sale now,” Smith said. “Five people came to our first concert. Five hundred attended the concert last year.”

          The concert features some of the greatest songs from the ’70s, 80s, 90s and today performed by a few of today’s greatest smooth jazz stars. 

          Tickets are $40 and the event is held at the Golden Nugget Grand Event Center.  Smith plans to circulate with fans before the event. Tables available. Go to or to find out more.

          To find out more about the Phillip Tarver family and the organizations with which they partner, go to the Facebook page for Lake Charles Toyota.

Rita LeBleu  August 1, 2019
LC American Press Feature Reporter
Categories: Social, Community Events
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