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Seen and Heard: Nationally recognized for his roadside assistance

December 30, 2018

Josh Schafer is a fourth-generation towman. His great-grandfather began a towing company in 1922, and the family business has been thriving and ongoing, temporarily ceasing operations only during World War II. Today, the Rochester company operates as Pulver Motor Service.

Last month Schafer was inducted into the Towman Order by American Towman Magazine. As a recipient of the Cross of the Order, Schafer was one of 55 towmen from across the United States and Canada recognized for his dedication to both towing and the community.

Schafer said the award caught him off guard. He was nominated by the fire chief of Cottonwood, Minn., for his efforts and service.

Growing up in the business, Schafer learned from his father. He describes the industry as a “brotherhood” and towmen as “a different breed of people; we love what we do.”

Schafer is passionate about his work, which is far more than simply changing a tire or jump-starting a battery. In our busy world, he said, “A dead battery can ruin the day.” His goal is to “help you with your troubles and send you on your way.” He finds his profession “rewarding” and enjoys that no two work days are alike.

Tow truck drivers frequently find themselves partnering with emergency personnel in car crashes. While police, firefighters, and medical workers are focused on life-saving situations, Schafer and his fellow tow truck operators provide support and are essential players in reopening roadways in the aftermath of accidents. In addition to being a towman, Schafer himself is also a volunteer firefighter.

Schafer is dedicated to safety for all, whether it is the people in the broken-down vehicle, the fellow tow truck driver, or other emergency service people. He actively worked and campaigned for the state’s expanded “Move Over” law, which requires vehicles to move over a lane or slow down when emergency vehicles are stopped along the roadway.

“We are all in this together,” Schafer said, “to keep lives safe.”

‘A privilege to serve’

Dr. Virginia Miller is a professor of surgery and physiology, director of the Women’s Health Research Center, and principal investigator for the training program Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health at Mayo Clinic.

She was recently re-elected as chairwoman of the board of directors for Bethesda Lutheran Communities. Bethesda, a nonprofit, serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and offers services in 12 states, including Minnesota. Dr. Miller says it is a “privilege” to serve.

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