Carl Warren – mrWF Work Ethic Scholarship
Carl Warren always liked cars, due in large part to the influence of his older cousin, Henry. In the Warren family, Henry was the go-to guy for all things automotive. He was not only the family mechanic, but the neighborhood mechanic as well. Henry just couldn’t say no.
Carl said to me, “It was just in Henry’s nature to help people.”
When Carl was 12, he started shadowing his cousin as he worked on cars. Soon Carl helped Henry replace flywheels and transmissions, and Carl loved it. That’s when he realized he wanted to follow in Henry’s footsteps, and his dream to become a mechanic came to life.
By age 17, Carl thought he had the whole automotive thing figured out. The engine on his sister’s Ford Escort was shot, and Carl was just the guy to replace it. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well without Henry’s assistance.
“I tried to do an engine swap. The only problem was I took so long that I forgot where all the bolts went, so all I really did was prolong the car’s burial at the junk yard. I always had the dream to work on cars, but I never had the patience.”
In an effort to find some patience, Carl settled for discipline and joined the United States Marine Corp. He served honorably from 2000 to 2004 and did one tour in Iraq. You can read about his unit’s exploits in the book, Charlie Battery – A Marine Artillery Unit in Iraq by Andrew Lubin.
The year after Carl returned from duty, Henry was tragically murdered while trying to stop a robbery. His entire family was devastated, especially Carl. His dream of following in Henry’s footsteps by becoming a mechanic died with Henry.
Carl started working for a friend at a roofing company. He dedicated himself to the task, worked his way up to a management position, and eventually became superintendent. As the superintendent, his phone constantly rang, and he had to deal with issues every time something went wrong. The stress of a 70-hour work week started to weigh on him. Carl longed for a simpler time when Henry and he repaired friends and family’s cars. The roofing company eventually downsized, and Carl lost his job. Most would see this as a hardship, but Carl saw it as a blessing in disguise. He took the opportunity to rekindle his dream and pursue the career he always thought he would have.
In order to make sure he would never again forget where all the bolts went, he applied at Universal Technical Institute in Exton, Pennsylvania. And in order to help him graduate debt free, he applied for a work ethic scholarship.
Carl’s GI Bill covered 90% of the tuition, and the scholarship covered the rest. On May 19, 2017, Carl graduated debt free. Today, he works as a Ford Certified Automotive Technician at Bob Davidson Ford Lincoln in Parkville, Maryland – just a stone’s throw from where Mike Rowe and I grew up.
While Henry is gone, his memory is alive and well. Carl is now the family and neighborhood go-to guy for all things automotive. When asked why, Carl replied, “It’s in my nature to help people.”