In 2020, 184 deaths occurred in the USA to a group of individuals who were performing a service for others. You might think of military, police, fireman, or paramedics, but the statistic is for a group known as tow truck drivers.
Drivers typically load vehicles onto the tow truck on the side of the road. It can be during the nighttime or morning commute or in rain or shine where they are at risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. They are in every town and serve the communities despite the degree of danger. They go about their duties without a lot of acclaim. These acts of service are worthy of our appreciation.
Here in Murrieta, CA we have a great group of individuals who serve our community in this fashion – Black’s Towing, affiliated with AAA. Black’s Towing was started with a team effort from Leroy and Ione Black. As a young man, Leroy had a great interest in mechanical things. As he grew, he found a place where he could serve and learn more about the skill he loved. He joined the Navy to continue his passion for mechanics and served The United States of America from 1951-1955.
After his military service, where he honed his mechanical skills, he returned to civilian life. In 1955 Leroy and Ione, purchased a gas station in Santa Ana, CA where he continued his trade of auto repair and added the service of towing. Meanwhile, Ione gave support and worked with the financial side of the business to keep it going.
The family moved to Fallbrook, CA and purchased an ARCO station in a town near their home in Temecula. In 1982 Leroy and Ione decided to focus more on the towing portion of the road transportation industry and created the current company LA Black Company, Inc. dba Black’s Towing. Their children Roy and Joy joined the ranks in the business. The whole family played an important role in growing the company to the present time. They currently employee over 40 employees with a fleet of trucks and have built one of the leading towing service companies in Southern California.
With the success of the company Leroy and Ione also gave back to the community. Leroy took it upon himself to start the POP Warner League in the Temecula Valley. He loved playing football in his youth and shared his enthusiasm with the youth in the area. He spent many long hours organizing and coaching youth.
Leroy Black passed away in 2014, but through Ione and Joy, they continue to help the community by supporting the local leagues, The Boys & Girls Club, and other charitable institutions.
Ione and Joy have created a safe and profitable place to work. Each person hired is treated like family. Many employees have been working with them for years. Keeping each employee safe is a prevailing theme. Ione said, “The key to the company success is our employees. Keeping them safe is a top priority.” Employees receive extensive training when they start their careers at Black’s Towing, and the training does not stop there. Monthly training continues, in an effort to keep employees and customers safe. Ione and Joy also periodically provide a barbeque or a breakfast as a change of pace for the employees and to show their appreciation for their service.
Ione, who is now in her 80’s, continues to support the company and stays involved in the daily workings of the business. There are many days where she still sits at her desk in the office to consult with her daughter in running the operations.
Joy Whittelsey has been affiliated with the company since 1989. She has been a driving force in the company’s success. There have been many milestones and successes on the way. Triple “A” has placed their confidence in them and have contracted with Black’s Towing to be one of their servicing arms. With the Triple “A” contract comes an expectation of high service and satisfaction. They have been associated with Triple “A” for many years and will continue for many more years to come. Many descendants of Leroy and Ione are willing and able to keep the tradition going, by working at Black’s Towing and providing the needed service.
With the advent of Covid, which has affected us all, Black’s towing has had its challenges too. Hiring and maintaining an able-bodied workforce has been difficult. They are in need of good workers, individuals looking for a challenging career, who can give service to the community. This is a very challenging yet satisfying sector of the service industry. If you are considering such a career, Black’s Towing would be the best place to start and create a work home.
As a community, we give thanks to Black’s Towing for their many years of competent service and are grateful they have persevered through all conditions to help many of us in our time of need.