Onalaska Resident Rescues Motorists in Need on Christmas Eve After Ice Storm
By Owen Sexton / [email protected]
After last Friday’s freezing rain storm caused dozens of accidents in the area, 36-year-old Onalaska resident Jack Franks went out the next day, Christmas Eve, to help stranded drivers get their vehicles back on the road. .
Originally from Olympia, Franks has had family in Onalaska since the 1980s and moved there himself four and a half years ago.
Using his personal tow truck, he helped pull nine cars from roadside ditches near Onalaska on Saturday and continued to help by towing cars to mechanics to fix damage caused by the slide off the road on Friday.
“Two of them were actually rollovers, they were all pretty good though, and those rollovers happened on Burchett (Street). Five of the cars I dealt with were all on Burchett, all within about 100 feet of each other,” Franks said.
Christine Kardos, one of the drivers who was helped by Franks, said she is grateful for his kindness and generosity.
“Jack only charged $50 per withdrawal on Christmas Eve and he did it for complete strangers. His kindness deserves recognition and we are absolutely grateful for all his hard work,” Kardos wrote in an email to The Chronicle.
In fact, Franks actually chose not to charge one of the people he helped that day.
“One guy who rolled in, he didn’t have any money on him, so I just said ‘Merry Christmas, have a nice day and save my phone number,'” Franks said.
Franks even towed the man and his car back to his home, despite not being paid.
Ultimately, he decided to come out on Christmas Eve to help because he knew people would face long waits for tow trucks, something Franks has already helped with in the past.
“I bought it for personal use a few years ago and I’ve had a lot of people here say when they call another towing company they’re waiting three hours longer,” Franks said. “I’ve pulled our local ambulance out of a ditch before because they called Grant’s Towing and said it would be a three-hour wait. They can’t wait that long, so they were knocking on my door just asking if I could take them out.”
Because he owns his own personal tow truck, Franks is now planning to start his own towing company.
“We’re actually working on going and getting a business license, insured, bonded and everything so we can do this legally to live here,” Franks said.
He also thanked Onalaska residents Troy Zigler and Chris Chandler for helping him with road safety while he was getting the cars back on the road.