It can be easy to see your co-workers, whether you’re in collision repair or not, as your secondary family. Just like your primary family, when tragedy hits, your work family comes together to help out. Louisville Collision Center, in Kentucky, is no exception.
Gary Noble, who works as a collision repair technician at Louisville Collision Center, was in a car accident on November 16. The accident left him with a broken ankle, two fractured ribs, and a ruptured sternum. His doctors told him that he would not be able to work for three to four months, which is even more devastating news since Noble is the sole breadwinner for his family.
'Everyone sees each other as one big family'
“I was there when we got the phone call originally, from his wife,” Production Manager Timmy Meredith said. “You never want to have that phone call, whether it’s your kid, or even someone you work with.”
It was difficult for Steve Olson, who manages the collision center, to learn about this. Olson had known Noble since 2010, when they had the same positions but at a different collision repair center. Olson went to work at Louisville Collision Center in 2015, Noble told FenderBender, and in 2018 Noble followed, mostly because he knew Olson was managing it.
“We’re a tight-knit group of employees,” Olson said. “Everyone sees each other as one big family.”
Another collision repair technician, who works alongside Noble, Derek Faulkner, said he was devastated to hear what happened to Noble. As word got around, action began to take place.
One employee decided to donate their worked hours to Noble and did so consistently. Other co-workers began to do the same. “This just really shows the true nature of the people you work with.” Despite the wave of support, Meredith felt more needed to be done.
Meredith came to Faulkner with an idea to do a raffle, as Faulkner is no stranger to fundraising. Aside from being a collision repair technician, Faulkner is also a podcaster/YouTuber who co-hosts Stix_N_Sips, a show that reviews bourbon and cigars. His side career in content creation recently led him to raffle off a bottle of bourbon on Facebook to raise money for someone in need, aiming to provide their kids with a great Christmas experience.
“I went down to him (Faulkner) and I said, ‘Hey, man, do you think maybe we can get some people to donate some bourbon or baskets and raffle them off?’”
Faulkner agreed and they both decided to organize a fundraiser event, which Olson supported. The event was held at Brownies the Shed Grille and Bar on Saturday, January 6. Co-workers, their families, as well as other members of the community attended. Kentucky bourbon and other items, including gift cards and tools filled up twelve gift baskets which were then raffled off.
“It was a no-brainer to pull this off,” Olson said.
'You never know what they’ll do for you'
The initial goal was to raise $1,000 for Gary and his family, but that goal was surpassed by raising nearly $9,000 instead.
“We didn’t do this to get recognized, we did this because we love Gary,” Faulkner said. Something that many people agree on in Louisville Collision Center, is that this isn’t unlike them to do.
“They’re some good guys,” Noble said after the fundraiser. “They’ll do anything for you.” He also adds while laughing, “You never know what they’ll do for you.”
According to Olson, the Louisville Collision Center has a history of community service. Some community service examples include donating a car annually through the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program, hosting charity scrambles, and offering free meals to veterans or active service members at a local restaurant on Veterans Day, among others.
“I think people like to do good things for others, inherently,” Olson says.
Noble is expected to make a full recovery by March 1. “I am ready to go back (to work),” he said excitedly.