‘Safety has no price’

Story and photos by Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***Don Breton’s motto is “safety has no price,” and those words were put into action Dec. 5 at the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Winter Safety Day at the auto skills center on Pulaski Barracks.

More than 150 drivers found out if their vehicles were safe to drive and ready for the winter at this free, first-of-a-kind event hosted by the garrison.

“We found problems with rear struts, batteries, electrical and braking systems, headlights, belts and leaks,” said Mr. Breton, the garrison’s Pulaski Auto Skills manager. “These types of problems could leave you stranded out on the road, late at night during the winter, and our goal and purpose was to try and avoid that situation for our patrons.”

Free car inspections were conducted, taking anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes.Instruction sheets created by Mr. Breton were very detailed, ranging from window-shield wipers to lifting vehicles up to check underneath for any safety concerns.

***image2***“It’s pretty detailed,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Vinson, from the garrison’s chaplain’s office, who was there with his wife getting both of their cars inspected. “They checked all the major things, most important stuff, and even made sure we had ice scrapers in our cars, which is very important these days.”

Inspections like these in the states could cost about $80 to $100, Mr. Breton said.
“It’s really great,” said Billie Passmore, whose husband is in the Army and currently on a 15-month deployment in Iraq. “I think it will help people keep their cars running better and hopefully, if I have any problems, I can take care of them.”

Once a safety problem was identified, patrons were not left without answers or avenues on how to get their cars fixed.

“We provided as much advice and assistance as possible, like where the best place is here to get it fixed or Web sites to order parts,” Mr. Breton said.

Planning ahead for this event, Mr. Breton and his staff made sure that generally-needed items such as window-shield wipers, first-aid kits and warning triangles were stocked and ready for retail.

Due to this success, Mr. Breton is planning for the program to take place twice a year- to winterize vehicles and in the summer to prepare for vacations and road trips.

“I think it’s a great service for the community,” he said. “We take a hit on the profit margins, but again, safety has no price.”