Couple soldiers on after 38 years with RACQ
IF YOU’VE had a flat battery or broke down on the side of the road around Gladstone in the past 38 years, John and Libby Green or their employees would have come to your rescue.
“Our motto has always been we care about our customers, not just their cars,” Mr Green said.
The GMW Mechanical and Towing owners came to Gladstone in 1981 and bought Gladstone Motor Wreckers in the middle of a boom with a partner, before buying the partner out.
“We bought the wreckers at the time because it was good cash flow, but it’s not now because of all the changes so we focus more on the scrap,” Mr Green said.
Mrs Green said: “John was once called ‘The Saint in the Tow Truck’ by one crash victim because in the beginning we would do everything.
Mr Green added: “Once I had to drive the ambulance to Gladstone Hospital while the paramedics worked on the people in the back.”
Within 12 months they added the mechanical workshop and became the RACQ road service agents for Gladstone, until this week when their tender wasn’t renewed and was awarded to a Gympie-based business.
When they started there were 1500 local RACQ members; four years ago there were more than 15,000.
“People have asked will you be closing down and we said no, we will still be here,” Mrs Green said.
“We’ve got the workshop with two mechanics and an apprentice, we’ve still got four girls next door in the insurance office, and we want to build the business.”
Over the decades all their children – Andrew, Annabel, Jessica and Lucy – helped in some capacity.
“Our daughter Lucy used to answer the phone at home when she was only five saying ‘Hello RACQ’,” Mrs Green said.
“Andrew used to come out on call outs, or fill in for John when he was busy.”
Through the business they have made global connections.
“We had a German family who had a Mitsubishi L300 and they drove through water and the motor was cactus, so we rebuilt the motor for them,” Mr Green said.
Mrs Green said: “For 10 years at least they sent us Christmas cards from the Black Forest.
“John has quite a few phone numbers, particularly of young German girls, who say it’s only a phone call and they’ll take a week off and show us around the country.
“There were the people from Israel who sent us those figs after we helped them out.
“We had a French chef Fabrice, who was driving around Australia and they stayed here for a week after they rebuilt their motor and cooked for us.”
But most of all they have made many friends and employed dozens of locals, some for more than 20 years.
“So many people know us after all these years,” Mr Green said.
“We love the town, like to spend our money locally and encourage everyone to shop local.”
RACQ assistance service operations general manger Mark Boswell thanked the Greens for their valuable service to members and the local community for nearly four decades.
“John and Libby Green, through their business GMW Mechanical Repairs, have provided valuable and much-needed service to RACQ members and the people of Gladstone for over 38 years,” he said.
“It’s great to see the positive impact they, and their business, have on the community.”