19 May Character at Collex Auto Body
Character means a lot to us at Collex. One of our teammates recently shared an article his daughter wrote and was asked to publish at her college not too long ago. As a father of an eleven year-old daughter myself, I was truly touched and felt a tremendous gratitude to Fred for sharing (and shed a tear or two in the process!). Collex auto body is a team of people and over time we’ve developed our own culture, our own character – one that continues to do the right thing and build a strong, lasting company. Speaking of character – bravo, Fred, bravo!!!
Born and raised in Jersey City, he was always taught to stand his ground. A man who is tougher than an angry bull, more disciplined than a man of the military, and a man who values respect more than breathing. Yet, the kind of man that if you needed him, would do anything he could to help – anything. He speaks with, without a doubt, the most severe Jersey City accent one’s ever heard. Pronouncing words ending in an “a” with an “er” and vice versa. His girls tease him about it, but it’s one of the things they love – for it makes him who he is. An old school Italian man, standing at about five foot eight, he isn’t the biggest man, but messing with him would be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made. A muscular, short stocky man, with thinning hair and greying goatee. A smile that no matter how angry you were, you wouldn’t be able to resist. An exceptionally handsome man, that all the ladies loved – he never took advantage of that. He’s a man with standards and values, not like the ones you see today. He is in every sense of the word, a complete gentleman.
He has the meatiest and manliest hands you’d ever seen – quite like the Hulk’s, just not as green. Callused palms and fingers so gompy that dialing on a cell phone is as challenging as brain surgery. One simple touch from those hands would have you feeling safer than you’d ever felt before. For someone who spends their day working diligently on automobiles, he has the cleanest hands. You couldn’t spot a speck of dirt with a magnifying glass. The hands of the hardest working man I know. A smart man – although he rarely had his head in books. He was never really into academics, but more of a car connoisseur. At the age of nine, he was welding mufflers, and not too many years after, he was building them, He still owns that beautiful sparkling candy apple red Chevy Chevelle. The one with the white racing stripes, stretched so perfectly down the hood and trunk. The one equipped with his man made roll cage, and his oldest daughters first pair of pink Chuck Taylor’s dangling on the rear view. The car he built as a teenager, and the car that he and his kids cherish.
Brought up in the city made him one of the utmost cautious people in the state, Going out at night, he leaves the TV on in the living room to make it seem like he’s home. While asleep, he leaves the police scanner on high in his living room’s giant bow window, so that if someone were thinking about robbing him, they’d hear it and think he was still awake. Piles of jackets and blankets fill the back seat of his car in case of a breakdown, which come in handy when the heats not working fast enough in the morning. He keeps a Louisville at the front door, calling it his “welcome stick”. Humor. He loves humor. If laughing was a sport he’d be an Olympian. The funniest things to him are the simplest things – for he’s a simple man. Simple, valuing the little things in life, and it barely takes anything to please him. He’s the farthest thing from materialistic you’ll find in the good old Garden State. You’ll never meet anyone more appreciative of life itself. Genuine and compassionate. The kind of guy who saw a raggedy older man sitting desperately on the corner with a sign that read “Will work for food”, and couldn’t resist buying him the biggest breakfast on the McDonald’s menu. Although he didn’t know that man’s story, he knew enough – he was hungry.
So caring that if you so much as bumped your head on the dining room table picking something up, he would badger you with questions making sure you were alright. A kind, gentle, loving man that would go to the end of the world and back for his family. A family man, without question. He would rather spend one night watching a movie with his three little girls cuddled up on the couch, than spend a week in a resort getting pampered. Friends of his daughters would often tell them how amazing of a father he is, and how they wished for one just like him. Many of them calling him dad. If there is anything he treasures, it’s his family. To him, his family is the greatest gift he’s ever received.
By reading this, some may say I put this man on a pedestal, but those who know him know he belongs there. A great man deserves the credit. Everyone that knows me, and knows him, say how much I remind them of him. Hearing that is the greatest compliment of all. I admire this man immensely, and there are many others that do as well. Many of his traits are seen in me. From the tough, no nonsense attitude, to the immense compassion, love and respect we share. We share the exact morals, ethics, values, and even have the same interests. We also share the same features, the same obnoxious laugh, and the same last name. The last name I am beyond proud to have. The greatest gift I have ever received came from God – I call him dad.
Dr. Denise Lagos