Local tow company loads up on charity
For more than 10 years, Molalla's Cindy White has been doing something she loves every day: towing cars. But that's not all. She also donates cars to local fire departments.
White has been at Area Wide Towing since 2009 when she lost her job in banking. She visited the tow yard (then owned by a friend) with one purpose in mind — using the internet to search for jobs. While there, she noticed a lack of organization and jumped in to help.
"I just loved it," White said.
And she has been there since. White went on to purchase the company in 2015.
White said she is a hands-on learner and enjoys little things about the job — like watching a physics lesson unfold before her eyes.
"She's a hard-working gal," said Canby Fire Division Chief Matt English. "She's like the chief cook and the bottle washer. So, she actually does a lot of the towing, a lot of the dragging — all of the heavy work. She's a very good-hearted, very nice individual. I've never seen her anything but positive and really good to everybody. That's probably the best way I can describe her."
White puts that good-heartedness to use through her donations of cars and labor to the Molalla, Canby, Aurora, Estacada and Colton fire departments.
According to Canby Fire Captain Adam Carter, motor vehicle collisions are the department's third-most frequent response. And some of those collisions require extricating individuals from vehicles.
White provides the cars for fire personnel to practice on.
"Someday, I might have to be cut out from a car, and I want someone to have used that saw before," White joked before revealing the real reason she began donating.
White had wanted to get her hands out into the local communities in some sort of charitable way. But being in a 24-hour business, she found it difficult to donate her time outside of work. As a tow company, the crew was constantly encountering first responders. So White put two and two together and began donating and delivering wrecked cars to Molalla Fire for training. She then expanded to Canby and the other area departments.
"Cindy with Area Wide Towing has supplied us with vehicles for more than a decade with outstanding customer service to the community," English said. "She is always willing to manipulate them for realistic extrication drills. This community service by Area Wide Towing allows us to do training from the introductory academy level through final probationary evaluations. The annual training that Canby Fire District is also able to accomplish is due to her generous delivery of community service."
White frequently drops off a couple of cars at the departments for regular training use. But recently, she dropped off a larger load.
Canby Fire, along with Aurora Fire, held a three-day training in June with a regional expert.
"In the process of this class, we ended up cutting up 12 cars altogether in various positions — on their wheels, on their sides, on their roofs," Carter said. "They were amazing at bringing the cars down for us, and they even positioned them for us. … I think at one point they had three different tow trucks out repositioning cars for us. It was pretty impressive."
He added, "Area Wide Towing is always great to work with. They have supplied us with a steady digest of wrecked cars giving us the opportunity to hone our skills. It would be tough for us to get hands-on auto extrication training without the cars they provide."
The charitable endeavor obviously requires time from White and her employees — something she's more than willing to give.
"If people are doing things like volunteering at the food kitchen or whatever they do, that takes time, too," White said. "I'm just using what I have. I don't see it as any different. … And I have the tools. So, if I have the tools, I just need to make that work."
White noted there is a way for the communities of Molalla, Canby, Aurora, Estacada and Colton to get involved, too. She said instead of abandoning wrecked cars where someone else will have to foot the bill for towing, give Area Wide Towing, or even another company a call. With title paperwork, White will tow the vehicle for free and, without the usual waiting period, she can quickly deliver it to one of the fire departments. The former vehicle owner can even get a donation slip for a tax writeoff. White simply requests that the cars have tires.
Area Wide Towing operates out of its main office in Molalla at 709 W. Main St. and also operates a yard in Canby. Reach the company at 503-829-3253.
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