American Free Enterprise Day (AFE) is a Palm Beach Atlantic University tradition, dating back to 1984. It is highlighted by a medal ceremony that honors individuals whose hard work and achievement exemplify the best of the American free enterprise system. A medalist of the year is selected and companion medals are awarded to other business leaders as well.
American Free Enterprise Day 2019 will be held on November 14, 2019 and recognize founder of Hardrives, Inc. George Elmore.
George T. Elmore, from New Castle, Pennsylvania, moved to Florida in 1947. He attended the University of Miami for one year and then was called to duty in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. Upon returning, he and his wife Wilma traded in their car for a pickup truck, borrowed $3000 from his father and got started paving driveways. They used their house as an office and the back of a gas station as an operating base. Wilma kept the books while her husband worked in the field.
By the 1970’s they had built Hardrives into one of the largest heavy construction companies in the area. His mother and father formed the high energy, strong work ethic and the frugality that Elmore has maintained all his life. He recalls how after each long workday, his father, a life insurance salesman, would walk three miles to town rather than pay the nickel for a trolley ride. In Elmore’s home office hangs a plaque given to him from his mother.
Today, Hardrives has become one of the largest road construction firms in Palm Beach County and is one of South Florida’s preeminent, longest running heavy construction firms. With Elmore’s leadership, perseverance, a keen eye for opportunities and a business practiced with foresight and a genuine concern for the community, Hardrives has grown along with South Florida, constructing the major highway projects including much of I-95 and many of the major thoroughfares in South Florida.
For American Free Enterprise Day, PBA honors the following four people as companion medalists:
Joseph Anderton, Principal, Executive Vice President
John Crossman, CEO
Crossman & Company
|PBA President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. (left), with two former AFE medalists: Outback Steakhouse Founder Tim Gannon and philanthropist Brian Burns.|
Palm Beach Atlantic University confidently affirms the values and institutions that historically have informed American society—religious liberty; traditional Judeo-Christian morality; limited, constitutional government; the Rule of Law; personal and political accountability; and capitalism—the system of free enterprise. We believe that America is truly an exceptional nation, which was founded and has flourished under the guiding providential hand of God. We aim to develop in each of our students an appreciation for the unique American achievement in its many dimensions—social, political, economic, moral, legal, and religious.
Our general education curriculum, required of all students, includes a course entitled “Freedom in American Society,” which examines the meaning and significance of freedom in the American experience.
Students explore such topics as the historical roots of American liberty, with special emphasis on the close link between liberty and Christianity, and the nature of freedom as understood by the chief architects of the American political order. They examine the interdependence between political and economic freedom, in particular, the significance of free-enterprise capitalism for the preservation of liberty. They learn about the structure of American constitutional democracy and the traditional meaning of justice and the
Rule of Law.
These studies help students recognize the various threats to individual freedom, religious liberty, and other traditional American rights and values that have emerged over the past several centuries, as well as contemporary challenges to their preservation.
Cicero remarked of the declining Republic of his era: “Our age . . . inherited the Republic like some beautiful painting of bygone days, its colors already fading through great age; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its form and outlines.”
Palm Beach Atlantic University strives to ensure that a similar fate does not befall the noble American experiment in ordered liberty. We regard the transmission of the American cultural heritage to the rising generation as not only a profound joy, but also a profound duty.