Good title on this column and congrats to Earle Arnold of West Auto Care and Towing on his recognition. Nice to see a story on a tower!
It's from The Frederick News-Post Online:
Earle Arnold has been in the gas, towing and auto repair business for 30 years. But he's not a car buff. He's a people buff.
That's what he likes about his business, 40 West Auto Care and Towing on Montevue Lane in Frederick -- the people. And, even though he doesn't do it anymore, he loves the towing.
"It's always about helping someone. I try to make people feel comfortable in a bad situation," Arnold said.
His daughter, Angela Arnold Fenton of Columbia, is perhaps his biggest fan. "I can remember him working long hours, working holidays, working weekends É and never taking a break for himself," she said. "He has built his business to what it is today with much sacrifice and never complaining."
She recalls him helping stranded travelers on Christmas Eve. Recently, she said, he came to the aid of a servicewoman who had run out of gas. It was a Friday at 4 p.m. He was on his way to a dealership to pick up a part. The woman was walking along the road.
Arnold was not in a vehicle equipped for road service, so he called one of his trucks at no charge and thanked her for her service to the country.
"I got the nicest thank-you card from her in my 30 years of business," he said.
Arnold said he got his work ethic from his family. Growing up in Dickerson, he started pumping gas at a station in Gaithersburg when he was 14. His dad would drive him to the station on Friday evening and pick him up Sunday.
"I worked all weekend and spent the nights with my grandparents," he said. Some of his earnings went to putting food on the family table. "That's what we did back then."
He continued to work summers at the station. The manager took him under his wing and by the time Arnold was 16 he was handling most of the paperwork for his boss's three stations, he said.
"The guy that managed those stations taught me the business inside and out."
In 1977, he started working at the 40 West gas station in Frederick . Two years later he was running the place, leasing it as a dealer. He bought his first tow truck and for two months, he ran the station during the day and towed at night. Then he hired his first employee to help run the station.
The repair business expanded beyond the capacity of the station, so he purchased the site on Montevue Lane in 1988. When the gas station property was sold about five years ago, Arnold focused on repairs and towing. He now has 10 towing vehicles and 15 employees. "I instill what I've learned in them," Arnold said.
He gives back to the community in other ways, too. He supports youth sports teams and recently joined the Yellow Springs Lions Club. When cars are donated to the Career and Technology Center for students to work on, he donates the towing to get them there.
Arnold used to work 90-hour weeks. Now, he said, he feels almost semi-retired working just 50 to 60 hours.