Before the recognition was made, the members of the Marion City Council heard a heartwarming story told by Tanya Williams, the office manager at Auto Tech Collision Center.
Last month before Christmas, 22-year-old Sgt. Donald Hendricks of the U.S. Army was traveling through Marion to join his family during holiday leave.
His journey started at Fort Bragg and he was bound for Rogers, Ark. where his father, stepmother and siblings live.
While traveling on Interstate 40, the wheel bearing in his Chevrolet truck went out and he was stranded in Marion on a late Friday afternoon.
He didn’t know anything about Marion or McDowell County. He also didn’t know if this city was friendly and supportive of people serving in the military.
Some communities in the United States are not, according to Williams.
But three local businesses all helped him get his truck repaired so he could get home for Christmas.
Those businesses were Auto Tech Collision Center, T&D Wrecker Service and Marion Tire & Muffler. Williams with Auto Tech helped him find a mechanic at Marion Tire to work on this truck.
Donny Randolph with T&D Wrecker did not charge Hendricks for towing his truck to Marion Tire but just wished him a merry Christmas and thanked him for his service in the Army.
Williams and her husband Chris invited Hendricks to a performance by The Roadrunnerz band that Friday night at the Six Pack Factory. Ryan Cook, owner of Marion Tire, paid for a hotel room at the Hampton Inn so the young soldier could have a place to stay for the night and only charged him for the parts, after the repairs were made.
Although he was a stranger in town, the young Hendricks made new life-long friends here in Marion, according to Tanya Williams.
When this story was reported last month in The McDowell News and other media outlets, it vividly showed how caring and helpful people here can be when meeting a stranger in need of help.
“I personally think this is what Marion and McDowell County is about,” said Mayor Pro Tem Juanita Doggett.
The Marion City Council recognized these businesses with helping Hendricks during his time of need and commended them for their actions. They were presented with Marion mugs bearing the motto “Where Main Street Meets the Mountains.”
Tanya and Chris Williams, Auto Tech owner David Hicks and Randolph with T&D Wrecker were present for the recognition. Cook was not available for the recognition but he will receive it later, said city officials.
Doggett made the presentation and presided over Tuesday’s meeting since Mayor Steve Little was unable to attend.
“We didn’t feel like what we done was that special,” said Tanya Williams. “It was what anyone in McDowell County would have done.”
We thank The McDowell News for reprint permission: https://www.mcdowellnews.com/mmn/marion-city-council-honors-businesses-that-helped-stranded-soldier-nye/article_8273eccd-b91d-51a5-8adb-2e168929c43a.html