Fixing cars must seem like light duty to a 20-year Army veteran who was once tasked with repairing weapons and explosives.


“Anything that goes ‘boom’ I can fix, I don’t have any doubts about that at all,” said Chris Williams, Auto Care Center manager at Store 1140 in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.


From ‘boom’ to ‘vroom’ – the desire to make broken things work again is what drives Chris. It might also be part of what fueled his decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with hopes of playing a role in ending the yearlong pandemic.


“I think getting the shot is less overwhelming than the experience of going through the whole year we did and having life interrupted,” Chris said.


Chris received his first dose of the vaccine at his store on March 3. For him, it was a process that was neither lengthy nor intimidating.


“Come in, get your shot, sit down for 15 minutes, make sure you’re good to go and then you can go about your day,” Chris said. “Our pharmacy was readily available and ready to do the work.”


A lead-by-example mentality also provided some inspiration for Chris. He was the first associate among his store’s management team to get vaccinated. Each state has its own criteria for eligibility. In early March, essential worker eligibility opened up in Kentucky, which cleared the way for Chris to get a shot.


“I think it’s important for me as a leader to show that I’m not afraid to be on the front side of something,” Chris said. “Sitting down and getting the shot was a great thing for me to do.”


It’s great for his fellow associates. It’s great for his future customers. It’s great for his family. Chris revealed an upcoming event that might be his greatest motivation of all for getting vaccinated.


“I’m looking forward to having my first grandchild here soon,” Chris said. “I want to be able to hold my grandbaby and not worry about anything.”


As a newly vaccinated Chris returns to the Auto Care Center with his team, it’s the first time in a year he truly feels like he’s the one in the driver’s seat.


“To lead from the front is something that’s important to me,” Chris said. “I want a life better for someone else.”


Maybe it won’t be too much longer before the COVID-19 pandemic is the one in the rearview mirror.