Autotech aids family, receives ‘Golden Spur’
By Mark Huffman, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
August 3, 2012
Ryan Grout was relaxing with his family the evening of July Fourth when fate brought him together with some stranded Texans.
Fate in the form of a cracked and useless radiator.
The result was that Grout’s holiday came to an end, the people from Texas got a break and the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce’s “Golden Spur” award was given this week to Autotech, the Jackson auto shop that Grout runs with his dad, Rich.
“I was just at home with my family, on the day off I get occasionally with my kids,” Ryan Grout said Wednesday.
So when he got the call about Marsha Gurwell, of Odessa, Texas, being stuck with an overheated Kia — not to mention Gurwell’s mom, niece and two kids — Grout felt he had to do something. And the first thing he had to do was drive more than 30 miles from his house in Driggs, Idaho, to the Autotech shop, on Gregory Lane behind the United Parcel Service building.
Grout ended up finding the Gurwell group a place to stay on the busy holiday week, helping them get around town, and installing the replacement radiator, which had to come from Salt Lake City.
The emergency call and everything that came after wasn’t something Grout would have hoped for, but it also wasn’t something he could ignore, he said.
“Honestly, in our line of work we meet so many people on their worst days,” he said. “We were just trying to make their experience less crazy.”
Gurwell was impressed. She told her story to a Jackson business owner, and he urged her to tell the chamber. She emailed the chamber, saying she was “very grateful and amazed” by the help she received from the Grouts.
At the chamber, membership manager Andy Heffron set things rolling to honor the Grouts with the first Golden Spur, the recently renamed Western Hospitality Award. The award was made this week at the chamber’s Business Over Breakfast meeting.
The honor came with gifts donated by chamber members, including The Blue Lion, Harmonic Spa, Judge Roy Bean’s Old Time Photos, the Homewood Suites, Jackson Bootlegger and Made.