Mitchell “Butch” Kimble Proves It’s Never Too Late
When Mitchell Edward Kimble came home from the hospital for the very first time, his older brother looked at his newborn sibling and declared, “That’s not a Mitchell – that’s a Butch.” The nickname has stuck to this day.
Butch grew up just outside the small town of Pocahontas, Arkansas. Maybe it was his nickname, maybe it was the fact that he came from a poor family, but for whatever reason Butch got picked on quite a lot in school. There was an older girl named Sherry that used to beat him up, but Butch didn’t mind her punches. He had a crush on Sherry and he looked at it as a way to get close to her.
As a kid, Butch loved to take things apart and put them back together again – just to see if he could. He would tinker with lawnmowers, cars, and his personal favorite, motorcycles. What he didn’t love was school.
“I didn’t feel like I fit in,” Butch told me.
By the time he turned 16, Butch wanted to drop out of high school. Sherry or no Sherry, Butch had had enough. He wanted to join the U.S. Navy, but since he was not 18, he would need his parents’ signatures on a consent form. They wanted Butch to stay in school. So they made a deal – Butch could leave school, but he would only get their signatures after he had earned his GED. So, Butch earned his GED, his parents signed him up for the Navy, and at age 17 he was an E4 Aviation Boatswain’s Mate aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga (CV-60) That’s where he stayed for four years.
After Butch left the Navy he drove trucks, logging over a million miles without an accident. But driving a truck means a lot of time away from family. Butch decided to look for something closer to home. He got a job installing and fixing propane heaters. In the winter of 2015 he was attempting to ignite a pilot light on a furnace with a bad gas valve. The explosion tossed him backward and singed his face and arm. The flash burn took off most of his beard and both his eyebrows. It was then that he started thinking about a new career – one that could turn his love of motorcycles into a vocation.
Butch decided he should get some proper training. He chose the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Florida. The next step was paying for it, and Butch wasn’t sure anyone would give a 49 year-old man a scholarship. He found the #mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship Program on line and applied, but Butch was doubtful he would get accepted. As he so colorfully put it, “I could fall in a bucket of roses and come out with chicken poop on me.”
Butch was accepted and is attending classes at MMI currently. He plans to graduate in October of 2017. And one day, he intends to open up a shop of his own with his wife, Sherry – yup, the same Sherry that used to punch him in school. Love taps, I guess.
Butch and Sherry live in Arkansas raising 4 children together, the youngest two they adopted in November.