Thanks and Thankful

Thanks and Thankful

Getting ready for Thanksgiving involved a slow week at the Garage. A small business lives and dies by the ups and downs of the normal cycle of business. We were cash poor for the short term but we had enjoyed the full 6 months before of extraordinary business. Customer arrived at our doors each day and even took the time to go online, write notes and bring gifts of food and treats. We are treated like heroes by many of our customers. Some care enough they call us for help even when it’s not the vehicles.

Our little business started by Marvin and Annie Mae Wilson has sustained the Lasley family for 29 years. First Roberta started working and raising Jim and Paul. We were able to provide for the Lasley’s and the Wilson’s until they both passed on. Our family business was joined by Rowena and James Gilstrap when the second Lasley boy was born. Roberta and Rowena go just about every day getting supplies and tires and enjoying life as a small business owner.

Wilson’s has enjoyed helping the community by having a majority of is owners and staff volunteering for Vienna Fire department. All the Lasley’s are members as well as  Richard Lewis. This does not come without some hardship. Leaving on a call is very hard when promising to have a customers vehicle repaired. Poor Roberta or the guy that has the oil filter off will stay and get the customer going again.

The years have flown and Jim has come to work Full-time. Jim Lasley has grown up first as an infant and raised by Roberta and community. Jim graduated from Reagan High and Forsyth Tech and has made the work of Auto Mechanic his vocation. Jim has dated and married Victoria. Wilson’s is blessed to have Jim and Victoria living and working in Vienna. We are pleased to see Wilson’s entering into another generation of service to the Vienna community.

No matter the ups and down of our economy the Lasley’s and especially Tim Lasley have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. Roberta, Jim Paul, Victoria, Little in -vetro Lasley, Mom and Brother Brian and Annette n Family, Kathy and Walter and Family . A magnificent Church family of Brookstown Methodist ,Bethlehem AME Zion, and Olivet Moravian. A Strong Community of Vienna and Double blessed by Scouting.

I have to also include our network of friends both in the community and on social media.  Friends comprise most of the customers of the little business. Men usually make ‘few real true friends and I have been blessed with many. So Thanksgiving really isn’t about what I have as much as what I can do and serve. I am blessed to be able to do and teach and serve.

Thanks Yall

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Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Honor, Respect, Awe, and captivated by the stories some could tell. Not all Veterans can talk about their service. Some were and still are living with the horror of War. Pictures and smells coupled with sounds are triggers of memories. Memories can be magnificent or haunting. I am thankful all the men in my early years went to serve. I am free and enjoy a very special lifestyle because of the sacrifice of so many.  These men came home and built and lived the American Dream. Jobs and homes and Families were waiting for the returning Veterans.

Not all Veterans could return to civilization and some never will. My Pastor speaks about a place in Davidson county where Fathers took sons to try to  leave their memories and thoughts of War before coming back into society. Thankfully my mentors were able to come back ,Finish College, find jobs and build homes. I was raised in the para-military times Boy Scouting and Fire Department followed a Chain of command style of leadership.

I have marched in the Veterans day parade since I was a Cub Scout… Boy Scout … and 3 good Years of Marching Band. I have served my Community as a Fireman and EMT but still am in Awe and many times overwhelmed with emotion as I think of all the Veterans that gave up so much for me. Thanks from a Humble community servant

Tim

Basic to Advanced

Basic to Advanced

The State of North Carolina rates fire departments from a one to ten scale. Water, Alarm handling, and Fire Department operations all score up to 100 points. The fire department portion is about 40 points. Training now  counts as much as 11 points. Getting my FF to training is a challenge. Many have second jobs and family and attend as much training as possible during work hours. Vienna trains every monday night and we ask our personnel to attend certification training. We also recommend any structure fire training as well as joint training with other departments.

Forsyth County Fire and Rescue Association Training Committee holds the Piedmont Fire Expo in January. We also sponsor the FF 1 and 2 classes for the evening FF. Quarterly classes have been well attended. The Cert classes have not done well. We had regular full classes for 25 years and had to quit contracting and let FTCC hold the direct delivery classes. Times have changed and there are classes everywhere. Finding the correct mix is tough when finishing the certs or getting done before changes.

The Training committee has over the years sponsored and used Instructors from the Forsyth County’s  fire departments. Instructors are contracted and paid through the Community College System. All Instructors are Certified and Qualified through the Department of Insurance and then to teach at the Northwest campus take another test.  Instructors must be committed enough to make sure the class will have enough participants. Most ask the training committee to poll the Fire Chiefs and get folks that need specific classes.

This October we floated the Idea that one department sponsor a night or Day at the training center. Ask for participation from mutual aid departments and get a crew or pairs of FF from each department. This gives each participating department mutual aid training and leaves enough FF to handle call volumes.

Vienna sponsored Roof Operations. We went Basic to Advanced. We had low training roof, 2 story cut operations, and an advanced Flat roof simulator. Marty Bowen did the Vent ,Enter, Search with a twist. All participants got Chainsaw time, ladder time, air pak time, and work outside a normal command structure. Some got to cut their first roof. All got to use one of the finest training facilities in the State of NC.

Training committee chair and co- chairs were pleased with the turnout. We will continue the Idea. We will train and try to make it as relevant to today’s FF as possible.

521

 

Food,Fellowship, Decompression and Release

Busy has been described to me as “Being Under Satans Yoke”. Time Flies. Life is passing by at a prodigious rate. I have a wonderful workplace and am lucky enough to work with Family. Our Employees are family too. Billy says there is no drama… We all get along and respect each other. However Work is WORK. If it were easy anyone could do it. At times I need to get away and do something different. Scouting has been my release. Did I mention I am Fire Chief? More Work! I have never dreaded going to either “Work”. Calls are no problem. Someone needs help! Training and administration are some work. Again Deputy Chief, Assistant Chiefs and Officers keep the load off me except for the BIG decisions. Again Scouting.

Scouting puts me in the outdoors and in places I may never see if I did not volunteer. I get to see the light come on in a youth that”yes ” even in the worst WX we can survive and even thrive. Let it rain and you don’t deal with the big crowds. Our youth are preparing to cook over only wood fires ways. They have researched and identified 8 methods to cook. Teaching to cook and preparing to cook are 2 very different things. We are splitting wood tonight. More than the scouts realize… Ha

Simple pleasures of just sitting and watching “Cowboy TV” as the fire burns low. Stories are shared and as more and more slip off to bed the fire circle tightens and joys,worries,  and cares are shared. As others share their wants and needs many times mine pale in comparison. True friendship can be found around the evening campfire. These bonds of friendship are tightened with work and shared experiences. Respect is noted and also the lack thereof.

Adult men make very few real true friends. Scouting and the Fire Service have forged my friendships kindled by Church or Community organizations. The work involved whether leader or follower binds men together. The quiet sharing of experiences give release to many issues that seemingly were overwhelming until sitting quietly around a common fire resting before bed. Shared experiences also shoulder the burden of each other’s needs. This makes the group and individual stronger and better able to face the work days and weeks ahead.

Thanks to all the Leaders and Mentors that have gone before me. Let me not go quietly into that good night. I want to share and shoulder for each of You that journey along with me. I will carry my burden and gladly show you how you have made each day a blessing to me.

Tim

Get What You Pay for?

Get What You Pay for?

Everyday potential customers call or just show up at my Auto Repair shop with parts and a story. Today was no different. 5 either called and asked to get a phone diagnostic and provide parts “Just to make it Easier on ME” or brought the part from Major retailers. Two wanted to bring the parts so the bill would not be so High!. Hello… This is a business that needs to make money on parts and labor. We also provide a tremendous Nationwide Warranty and Roadside assistance when Tim or Jim or Roberta or Richard OR Billy  cannot possibly help you.

In some special situations we allow the customer to supply the needed part. We will try our hardest to make the repair process as painless as possible. We stand by our warranties and will stretch the mileage or time if “Fairness” of either is an issue. ACDELCO will provide the Roadside assistance even with a competitor part. Price of Services is what we have refined for 40 years. Rising cost of living and parts have caused a rising labor rate since the 1970’s.

Today’s technician is required to train and learn continuously. Computer guided systems and complex issues require purchase of the needed Management System and Data Information from each manufacturer. Just to keep the doors OPEN much less up to date on the modern automobile have pushed Owners and Technicians into owning Thousands or Hundreds of Thousands of dollars of equipment and tools.

Stop at any parts store and they will sell you a part!. Thats their job. Ask the opinion and you will get as many as stars in the sky. Or parts in the Store…Go to the Internet and type in your make an model. Death and destruction have come and gone riding your vehicle. Get a Youtube video and strike out into my world. Disable the only ride you have and need that other part or God Forbid you were sold the wrong part… “OH I guess it does have Air?”…. Vehicles change mid year and even skip years.

Simple jobs now need to tell the computer they are done. All drivability needs to interface the computer. Light bulbs still burn out… Even led’s…Today’s customer is Beta testing their New Ride. Vehicles are 11 years old AVERAGE. Stuff will wear out. Do what you can but don’t be surprised if what you got sold is not what you really needed. WE CAN FIX IT!

Call and ask. Come in and get a diagnostic. Drop it off and wait for the call. Just remember I Sell Time and Parts for a living. Learning is a hidden cost and must be repaid. We will fix almost all problems presented to us. Some we cannot.

TIME, QUALITY, COST… SOME SAY PICK 2… I SAY ALL THREE COME IN THE FORMULA FOR AUTO REPAIR. JUST BE CAREFUL YOU ARE GETTING WHAT YOU PAID FOR!

Guru’s, Owners and Technicians

Guru’s, Owners and Technicians

For the past 30 years I have been a member of IGONC. Mr Wilson was not a joiner so although we knew about IGO we never joined and benefitted from the group. I have attended conventions by closing for the week. My whole family has attended and grown up in the IGO. Our convention is now the ASTE trade show and IGONC convention. This year we Sold out the Trade Show, Sold out the Room book, Packed the rooms for classes and in a special report had over 150 in attendance for the OEM Information update by Chris Chesney.

Independant is First in the name of our organization. All mechanics and owners are very independent. Building a business based on the needs of our customers is tough. We were branded grease monkeys. Dullards were put in Auto Shop in High school to get them through. THINGS HAVE CHANGED!

Transportation is critical to the very infrastructure of our nation. Over 70% of vehicle owners would rather have an Independent mechanic service their automobiles. Trust is a key component. Competence is expected with perfection close at hand. The vehicle platform is complex and going to get even more as the years go by. Safety systems can take control of the vehicle and autonomous vehicle are logging thousands of miles today.

Our industry is grey. Lots of OLD GUYS are the current programmers and subscription members to the OEM’s. Manufacturing and other lower tech work is paying more than Auto Repair. Vehicles are more complicated and there are fewer service intervals. Sounds like just what was being said when I got involved in 1975.

If you missed our ASTE convention you missed out. Great social atmosphere, Great Information, Great tools, and a good kick in the Pants. If My Shop is the Best- Why do I  let customers go other places?…. My Goal for this coming Year- Advertise Greatness, Prepare for New Customers, Work our Ass off to be the Best Automotive Repair Shop period.

Thanks to the Best customers and Friends ever along with Magnificent Employees

Thanks Tim and Roberta Lasley, Jim and Victoria Lasley, Richard and Sandy Lewis, Billy and Jennifer Green, Paul and Connor. JoJo and Patches

 

Alive and Well

Alive and Well

Don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see.! I have been told this for years by my mentors and parents. I can tell you that the Rural fire service is alive and well in North Carolina. Yes volunteer numbers are down. Yes call volumes are swamping many departments. Yes we are requiring way too many hours to Certify and Qualify our first responders. There is still a palpable passion to our JOB! Witnessed by the intense interest in my last structural burn.

Training is frequent and intense. Our training process is better than ever. We have available every screw up on video to view. We have instant on the scene critics. We have the social media roaring  the proper thing to do… I think we can perform properly and respond perfectly to all situations if we were not humans. That human factor has millions of variables.

The Mission is simple. Save lives, Protect property. We are here for them! We must however protect ourselves to properly continue the service. I am the Safest I have ever been in 44 years of service. I am at a High level of Situational awareness. I drive slower, work out more and eat better than I ever did in the first 30 years. I have preached from the training pulpit the ways to stay alive till age 25 and beyond.

I have kept fire in my life. Carrying my turnout gear with me for 40 years to be ready at a moments notice. As soon as I became an EMT I have carried a jump bag too. I have taught the Structural Burn for the last 30 years. Taking crews and finding the best of the best and bringing those FF to additional burns to develop their skills. We burned with 10 Instructors and helpers keeping 35 -40 in crews of 4 n 5 busy all night.

The Command Staff, Water Supply and Instructor support worked tirelessly during the burn. The Whole incident had been pre-set. Lines, Tool Staging, Sets in all rooms all were ready to keep crews busy. Instructors rotated with the air supply and crews rotated as they got Fire. FF were rehabbed and fed as Crews and the burning continued. No Complaints from over 100 FF. Firefighting is alive and well in Rural NC.