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Western Auto Wreckers celebrate 50 years of going the extra mile

Jeff Sawyer
By Jeff Sawyer
July 10th, 2020

When it comes to going the distance, Western Auto Wreckers & Towing have always gone the extra mile to help people in need.

Their community involvement over the years is a true testament to their commitment and dedication to serving the citizens of Nelson and the West Kootenay's, and it's fair to say it extends well beyond just being the towing and recovery specialists.

They generously donate to local businesses, charities and especially contribute to youth sport leagues and recreation in the area (Hockey, Soccer, Nelson Neptunes Swim Team, the Glacier Gymnastics Club), just to name a few.

They also feel incredibly proud and humble to be able to support Nelson Fire & Rescue Services with their ‘jaws of life’ training.

Not only that, they go out of their way to donate and deliver the cars and trucks to be bucked up, and over a three-day weekend course.

Local fire fighters specialize in vehicle extraction training to be prepared and ready to be able to perform very important real world fire rescue scenarios.

“It’s integral to our emergency operations to have access to these vehicles to meet our training objectives,” said Fire Chief Len MacCharles.

“It is crucial for instructors and participants to understand and practice various motor vehicle collision scenarios. The training provides critical extrication skills for our Firefighters, and we are grateful to Western Auto Wreckers for supporting us, and ultimately, our community.”

And in the truest sense and form, these relationships are the foundations of what Western Auto Wrecker’s business is built on.

When I listened to Owner / Operator Cory Scanlon reminisce about his family legacy, it took 3 generations to reach their 50-year anniversary milestone, and he shared that at its core, it’s about his family’s dedication to helping the community.

“It all began with my Dad Clint Scanlon and my Grandfather Oscar Scanlon, and I think it was their strength and desire to make a difference, which could be trusted and depended on," Corey Scanlon said.

“The first tow truck my dad built and put together was 1953 model, which took him months to complete and cost him roughly $400," Corey Scanlon explained.

"After that they both went on to buy the business in 1970 and became an LTD in 1974. Though, when they first purchased WAW, it was only an auto wrecker. The first tow truck was bought a few years later for $7800.

"Many years later, in 1993 I was asked to come home to take his seat and help my dad, as he was offered many contracts within the area. It was an easy decision to say good-bye to my forestry career to come back and help my family — but boy now a days, a new truck is worth a lot more than $7800.”

To celebrate their 50th anniversary milestone WAW had originally planned a big get together at the shop, however COVID cancelled those plans so they will throw a 50 +1 party next year…

“We want to celebrate our employees, these are people who have worked for us for many years, in fact some have been with us for 25 years. We are very fortunate to have this group, they hold up the fort while I'm out of the office working, so my appreciation is immense. I feel very lucky, they are reliable, experienced and dedicated, just like my Grandpa Oscar.

"We are also extremely grateful to our loyal customers that share their great experiences with us and become repeat customers,” Cory adds.

It would be prudent to say the outlook for the next 50 years will continue down the same road, as Cory would love to work side by side with his boys as he did with his father Clint, and Clint with his father Oscar.

Right now his 22-year-old stepson Braeden helps out and is learning everything there is to know about the 14-acre yard, including all the equipment, logistics around picking and sourcing parts, auto repair, along with a growing low bed business that started just over 4 years ago, specializing in moving heavy equipment.

With their strengths and dedication deeply rooted in family, more milestones will surely be ahead of them.

Congrats to Clint, Cory, Braeden and the late Oscar Scanlon on 50 years.

Way to go the extra mile!

Below are photos of the Western Auto Wreckers Team assisting the public during some of the calls over the past 50 years of operating in the West Kootenay region. — Submitted photos

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