PARKERSBURG — A scholarship for those pursuing work in the Auto Body field was created in honor of Roger Brown and his retirement after 45 years of service to the body shop at McClinton Chevrolet.
General Manager Wyn Bowden said the idea was a joint effort to honor Brown and to continue the legacy that he is leaving behind.
The scholarship is building on a program that was already in place at the dealership. With that program, $1,000 is lent to a new employee to set them up with the tools required to do their job. The money comes out of their paycheck throughout the year so they see minimal impact, Bowden said.
However, Brown said it’s a small help because of the different tools it takes to accommodate different vehicles.
“You’re just constantly having to buy different tools,” Brown said.
For new body shop hires, the scholarship is $4,000 given over four years as long as the recipient maintains the necessary hours for 12 consecutive months.
“At the end of the year, we will give them a check for $1,000. That will have been paid back out of their pay and they will get a $1,000 check,” Bowden said. “It’s an actual scholarship; it’s not out of their pocket.”
The idea is to create longevity, Bowden said. If all four years are completed, they will receive a certificate and a plaque will be displayed signifying their completion.
“We really want to target these young people at the career centers and the high schools (who) are taking these skill set jobs. It’s becoming harder and harder to find this person (who’s) wanting to do these specialized jobs,” Bowden said.
Brown’s work ethic, dedication, professionalism are just a few reasons the scholarship will be in his name, Bowden said.
“They (have) to live up to that too,” he said.
For those considering that type of career, Brown says it’s important to love what you do.
“It’s going to be a constant field. There’s always going to be a demand on it. You have to enjoy what you’re doing to stay at it this long,” Brown said.
The company and the people he worked with are part of the reasons Brown remained so dedicated to the dealership.
“It just keeps you wanting to come back. It’s just like a second home,” he said.
Jon Corra from the business development center at McClinton said their success over the past 105 years is partially due to their great employees.
“The fact that Roger has been dedicated to our body shop for so long means that customers who are at their worst sometimes when they have an accident have a lot of relief knowing that he’s working so hard to get their cars repaired to them quickly and that keeps them coming back to us,” Corra said.
Candice Black can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.