CHR Stands Behind It’s Mission: Welcomes Easterseals Iowa Clients

The best way to find out if you like something is to try it! When you’re in high school and exploring what you like that could lead to employment, hands-on experience is crucial. This summer Easterseals Iowa clients were able to participate in Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services Summer program. This annual Summer Career Camp provides students with the opportunity to explore careers, build work readiness skills, interact with employers and tour local companies. It gives employers an opportunity to discuss their employment needs, what skills are needed to do these jobs, and ways to prepare to work in a related field.

During the week focused on the automotive industry, Easterseals Iowa had the perfect pair-up with supporter Tom Gilbert and his shop CHR Tire and Auto in Des Moines (5485 NE 17th Street).  The shop is close to Camp Sunnyside and Tom put the business’s core values right in the name—Cheap, Humble, Reliable (CHR).

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Tom made time during the morning visit to have his mechanics work directly with the students. They were greeted with orange juice and Daylight Donuts, which made for a great start!

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They had serious experience and got their hands dirty changing oil, replacing tires and working on an air conditioning unit.


Tom said, “It’s great to get these young guys in here and excited about working on cars and the industry. We need this next generation of talented mechanics. If they can find out they like this now, they can quickly move to a career like this in the future after high school.”

The Easterseals Iowa mission is important to Tom, especially supporting children and young adults.

Easterseals Iowa program leader Anna Engler said this was the most interactive experience the students had and was a favorite from the summer programming. They learned what it takes to repair a car and the years of training needed.

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Finally the students had some time to check out the restoration projects CHR works on, including this 1927 one ton Chevy truck. This is the fun part of the job according to Tom.

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Before the group departed the shop they had opportunity to ask questions. One student said he wanted to bring in his car that needs new brakes, and asked if he could help with the replacement. Tom happily agreed.

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