Local 4's Carmen Harlan sat down with Bill Ford Jr. to talk about his life growing up in Detroit, his team the Detroit Lions and Thanksgiving Day with his family.
Ford and his wife, Lisa Ford, will be Grand Marshalls at this year's Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit.
Carmen: What's a normal Thanksgiving Day like?
Bill: Normal is defined by the Lions winning or losing (laughs). Actually, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. If the Lions win that day we have a great Thanksgiving dinner. And if the Lions don't win on Thanksgiving it's a little more subdued.
Carmen: How proud are you of the Lions?
Bill: Well the Lions have been great this year. It's been really fun. I am very proud of the way the organization has responded over the last few years. Martin Mayhew has done a great job. Jim Schwartz has done a great job. Frankly, the entire organization has my dad really pleased with the progress, you know, but it's only halfway through the season. So, we've got a long way to go.
Carmen: Walking on the grounds of Fair Lane, the Home of Henry and Clara Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company and Bill's great grandparents, you get a better understanding just how intertwined the Ford family is with the history of Detroit and, more importantly, its future.
Bill: Well, you know, it's ... I love Detroit and I spend a lot of my time on Detroit issues and trying to help Detroit wherever I can. And so as a life-long resident of this area, I mean, I think (the parade) really showcases our city in such a great way and so I'm just thrilled to be part of that.
Carmen: This year, Ford is making every effort to insure that families who need it have food on the table this winter.
Bill: We've had, as you know, a very rough period in our local economy going back really six or seven years. And even though there are really encouraging signs now that we are starting to come back, there are still many, many families that are still struggling. And so we are partnering with Gleaners, Ford is, to make sure people through the holidays, through Thanksgiving, through Christmas and really through the winter, have enough to eat.
Carmen: Now, if you could make a wish for Detroit, what would it be?
Bill: You know, Carmen, when I was a little boy growing up, Detroit was an incredible place. Everything I did was in the city. All the clothes I bought, dentists, barber, doctor, everything. We were down there all the time for everything. The streets were alive and the city population was large and it was a city that other cities envied and copied, and I would love to see Detroit like that again. You know, we've had glimpses of it
Carmen: We know Santa will be the real star of the show and can thank Ford Motor Company for the reindeer float that brings him down Woodward Avenue every year. So what will you be driving?
Bill: Well, actually, in the parade I'll be driving in a Kona Blue Mustang Convertible, and if it's snowing I guess ill just wear a hat (laughs).
Carmen: And if the top is down you ...
Bill: Well the top has to be down. I mean, listen, I love Mustang convertibles. It's my favorite car. Lisa may argue with me on this ... so if you see the top up on Thanksgiving, she won the argument (laughs).