Although I did not serve in the military, I have many friends and family members who did. I have tremendous respect for their service and the service of all veterans. That’s why I’m committed to giving back to these veterans in my business and my community.
With a CARSTAR location in Sidney, Troy and Piqua, Ohio, I’m always looking for skilled, hard-working team members. Any time I can hire a veteran, I do. With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base nearby, there are many military members in the community who are looking for good jobs when they complete their military service.
The collision repair business requires a task-oriented focus and the ability to take direction and lead a team. It also requires dedication to doing the highest quality work. Military training provides this background, and I find that veterans bring these skills to the repair center and become excellent team members.
Today, I have three veterans working at my CARSTAR locations. Most didn’t have collision repair skills when they started, but working with the CARSTAR University, I-CAR and other training resources, they have been able to learn how to paint, do body work, handle estimates and work with customers. They stand out for their ability to get the job done – and done correctly.
I have one employee who is a Vietnam veteran who has worked for me for years. He is such a great inspiration and model employee who will do anything and make sure it is done correctly. He has even tried retiring for a couple of months but ended up coming back because he was driving his wife crazy. He’s a great teacher for our younger techs coming into the industry, and I told him he has a job with me for as long as he wants it.
Working with veterans who have experienced the stress of combat requires patience and coaching as they transition from the military to civilian life. It’s important to provide them with personal support and pay attention to the stress of the workplace and its effect on them. I try to pair each veteran with a mentor in the facility to deliver this additional support and training.
Suicide Awareness and Prevention
In addition to helping veterans find employment, my wife Angela and I work in the community to increase awareness of suicide among veterans. We participated in the 22 Pushup Challenge, where we did 22 pushups each day in honor of veterans who face this challenge. We did pushups in many places – in parks, in the shop, at the gym and everywhere in between. We posted photos each day on Facebook and encouraged folks to donate to support the cause. These funds go to support local counselors and suicide prevention services.
Throughout the year, our team at CARSTAR also works on projects like the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program, which provides veterans in need with reliable transportation that enables them to work and take care of their families. We also hold veterans’ recognition events to raise funds for housing, medical care and other needs for them and their families.
Due to the many military members in our community, there are several military service organizations that exist to provide support and resources for families, veterans and spouses of deployed service members. I’ve developed relationships with many of these organizations to familiarize them with what we can do to support their efforts. They have become an excellent referral network as transitioning military members and their families look for employment.
These military support organizations have also become a referral network for our collision repair services. When they or the military members they serve need collision repairs, they frequently come to us because they know our team and appreciate the support we’ve provided in the community. I also offer a discount for veterans and work closely with insurance carriers like USAA and GEICO to serve their military customers through our CARSTAR insurance relationships. It’s a win-win for everyone.
I’m proud of the veterans who have launched their civilian careers at CARSTAR and am honored to be able to help them on their path in the collision repair profession. They are an indispensable part of our team, and their commitment to quality, hard work and excellent service helps inspire other team members.