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Tribute to Roy Schott

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  U-Haul, Roy Schott

Tribute to Roy Schott

Senator Mitch McConnell
Congressional Record, 114th Congress
19 September 2016


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I rise to pay tribute to a hard-working businessowner, veteran, and respected Kentuckian, Mr. Roy Schott. Mr. Schott recently celebrated 61 years of work as a mechanic and service station owner and 55 years as a U-Haul outlet. His dedication to his work is something to be admired by us all.

Mr. Schott's journey began at the age of 15 when he discovered his interest and aptitude in mechanics. This led him to his first job in a garage, where he repaired motor vehicles. In 1951, he left his job and home to serve our country in the Korean war as a motor sergeant.

Upon returning to London, KY, from his time in the military, he and a friend opened a service station. Mr. Schott made an addition to his business in 1961 after seeing a U-Haul ad in the paper. The service station became Schott Marathon and U-Haul Dealership. At that time, U- Haul charged only $3 a day to rent a trailer, later adding a $1 fee for hitch rentals.

Mr. Schott's secrets to U-Haul success are good help, good customer service, and a good field manager. To this day, he has remained active in his business, coming every day to work alongside his loyal employees and interacting with his customers. After the loss of his wife in 2002, Mr. Schott considered retiring, but ultimately decided that he loves his job too much to ever stop.

I am very honored to represent Mr. Schott here in the U.S. Senate and want to wish him congratulations on his many years of service not only to the people of London, KY, but also to this nation. I am sure my U.S. Senate colleagues join me in expressing gratitude and admiration for his service as well. He truly represents the finest of Kentucky.

Mr. President, an area publication, the Sentinel-Echo, published a compelling article on Roy Schott's life. I ask unanimous consent that the article be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

[From the Sentinel-Echo, Aug. 22, 2016]

Still Going Strong: Roy Schott Celebrates 61 Years of Keeping Vehicles on the Road

(By Nita Johnson)

London businessman Roy Schott has many memories.

He will share some of those, but often says they are not important.

But after 61 years of operating Schott's Service Station on Main Street, he has a lot of memories and a lot of knowledge to go with it.

``Be sure to find out what kind of oil it needs,'' he said to a customer who called his business on Thursday afternoon, before going into the service section and assisting an employee with loosening bolts on a car part.

Schott said he got involved in the mechanic business because it paid better than some other vocations available in 1943.

``I started working at a garage that is where the Sentinel- Echo is now,'' he said. ``I got $1.50 a day. Other places only paid $1 a day, except the railroad and it paid $1 an hour.''

Schott learned to weld as part of his job, recalling that parts weren't manufactured then as they are today.

``If a bus came in with a broken window, you had to fix it with a piece of tin,'' he said.

Schott left the business in 1951 with many other Laurel Countians who went to serve their country in the Korean War. He served two years during that conflict ``when all hell was going on.'' War is no good memory for Schott, who still tears up when he thinks about the end of World War II.

``When World War II ended, the bell at the courthouse rang all day,'' he said. ``There would be four or five bodies of boys come in every day.''

Schott served as combat engineer in Korea, where he was a motor sergeant and oversaw 23 trucks. He remembers those trying times through a book presented to Korean veterans by the Korean government. The book shows pictures of the devastation during and following the war there, but highlights the achievements made over the years as the country rebuilt.

Once safely back home after the Korean War, Schott opened his service station on South Main Street near the former Ormsby Hardware. While also operating his service station, Schott became an authorized U-Haul rental facility. He credits Bill Ormsby for that venture--one that earned him recognition from U-Haul last year for 55 years as an authorized dealer.

``I'm the oldest one in the state, probably the oldest one in the country,'' he laughed.

But in 1955, Schott got a loan to start his own business. He remembers that day when his loan was approved.

``It was August 28, 1955,'' he said. ``When you borrow money you know the date you got it.''

He moved the business to its current spot on North Main Street across from London Elementary School in 1960. Now, 56 years later, he continues the tradition he began, still working performing his magic on brakes, tires and air conditioning units. The business has served him well, providing for his four children over the years. He also has grandchildren, of whom he cannot hide his pride.

``Let me tell you about my grandchildren. No, that would take too long,'' he said with a laugh. Schott plans to continue to work until he is no longer able, refusing to retire. When asked if he still works on vehicles himself, he holds out his hands as proof.

``I guess I do,'' he said.

He once considered retirement following the death of his wife 14 years ago. But his son-in-law quickly talked him out of it.

``He said, `What are you going to do, climb the walls?' so I decided to stay open,'' he said.

He believes working and staying busy is why he continues to be able to serve residents in the London and Laurel areas.

``A friend who retired told me to work all I could,'' he said. ``He said the walls would close in on you after a little while. So when people ask me if I'm going to stay here until they have to carry me out, I tell them I guess they will.''

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