Able Body Shop, a three-shop organization with 48 employees and the oldest auto body shop still operating in the state of Alaska, has received a Gold Pan Award from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce for Distinguished Community Service for their involvement with the King Career Center.
The King Career Center gives Anchorage’s youth the opportunity to work with experienced professionals in a career of their choice and receive one-on-one, on-the-job training while still in high school.
Community Service is a huge part of Able Body Shop’s organization because they feel giving back to Alaskans brings so many great opportunities. Owner Ryan Cropper has been involved with the King Career Center since he was a student there from 1995 to 1997. He enjoys giving the students the opportunity to try out a career path such as automotive to see if that career would be something the students would be interested in pursuing in the future and before graduating high school.
“I’m proud that our team is not only willing to train young kids going into the industry but also willing to give back to the community in every way that they can,” said Cropper.
The Anchorage Chamber Gold Pan Awards is one of the organization’s longest running civic programs, established in 1957 as Anchorage’s No. 1 premiere business awards event. For 58 years, Gold Pans have been awarded to those who have shown business and entrepreneurial excellence, as well as a loyal commitment to Anchorage through community service.
“It makes me super proud of the organization and team that we have and the importance they place in giving back to the community and how they view their part in our community differently than how they probably used to,” said Cropper. “They’re really coming together to make it happen.”
Cropper is also the founder of the non-profit Empowering Destinations, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation supported by local community-minded business professionals who seek to give a hand to families in need. Once a year, they give away a vehicle to a local Alaskan family in need, and in 2015 they were able to give away two vehicles to two deserving families.
This is Able Body Shop’s first year winning the Gold Pan Award.