Six days a week, you’ll find 88-year-old Ruth Ann Harvey greeting customers and watching the cash register closely at Hollin Hall Automotive in Mount Vernon. Her work day begins just past five a.m.
Harvey’s story begins in Ohio, where she grew up on a farm. As a teenager, she went to work at the newly built Pentagon in the early 1940s and worked in the War Department for then-Major Dwight Eisenhower.
“He was the most thoughtful, wonderful man!” she said.
And then she met her husband Lee. Later, he opened Hollin Hall Automotive in 1961. But just five years later, her husband passed away.
Ruth Harvey was left with seven boys, the youngest just 13 months old, and a family business to operate.
“Tom looked at me and said ‘what are we gonna do, Mom?’ I said we're gonna work just like we've been doing,” she recalled. “I said you know how to work, and I certainly do too, I was born on a farm I can guarantee you I know how to work!"
Her oldest son Butch went to Vietnam. But he never made it home, and in 1970 Ruth Harvey faced another tragedy with strength and courage.
These days Harvey thrives on interactions with customers, employees and working with her son Tom. Everyone knows her and she’s a bit of a celebrity.
Next Saturday, April 30, Hollin Hall Automotive celebrates its 50th anniversary as well as Ruth Harvey’s hard work and dedication. The shop will raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project (for information on Hollin hall Automotive, go to www.hollinhallauto.com. For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project, go to http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.