Hopkins Co. auto body carries on with repairs for tornado-damaged cars

Hopkins Co. auto body carries on with repairs for tornado-damaged cars
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:57 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WFIE) - Hawkins Auto Body has been in business for decades.

General Manager Mark Kurtz says he’s never seen damage like he’s seen with the cars brought in after the Dec. 10 deadly storms.

“We’ve seen a lot in the 35 years we’ve been here, and I’d say this last tornado tops the cake on damaged cars,” said Kurtz.

More than six months have passed, and damaged cars continue to come in. Flashes of the first couple of days after the storm came to mind.

“They’ve got one car that will crank and run, their livestock is either hurt, damaged or dead,” Kurtz said. “And they come here and they don’t know what to do first.”

Shop employees are playing catch up, trying to do their part for their community. The search for parts, adds to the delay the shop is trying to avoid.

“So you’re scrambling around trying to find those other small pieces just to finish it,” Kurtz said.

Although the shop’s workload has grown, employees are eager to do anything they can to help.

“When we have something like this happen to our community, our guys check-up you know, and kind of put their personal lives aside, they get it in gear and just work as many hours as they can,” Kurtz said.

The scarcity of parts put some repairs at a standstill. It could be as miniscule as one part needed to complete the job.

“The simplest thing cripples the repair process,” said Kurtz. “You could need 70 parts to fix a car, but you can only get 69 of them in.”

But the feeling of helping someone in need pushes them forward.

“Even if we don’t know them, and there’s someone that really can’t afford to go buy a new car right now; with us being able to salvage that car, and put it back to pre-loss, and give it to them, it’s satisfying,” said Kurtz.

Even if the shop can’t fix every vehicle marked by the tornado, they may be able to bring a bit of normalcy back to victims of the storm.

“So if we can get your car fixed, that’s our part of the world,” said Kurtz. “We can’t fix your house, but we can fix your car.”

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