Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Blind Auto Mechanic Hires Deaf Assistant

‘Cars have been Larry Woody’s life for more than 30 years. He fixed them, he raced them, he restored them. But five years ago on Interstate 5 a truck blew across the median and drove over his tiny Toyota Celica. He almost died, and he was blinded.

But Woody, 46, still works on his 1968 El Camino, dabbles in racing and recently bought his own shop, D & D Foreign Automotive, in Cottage Grove. And he has hired a deaf assistant.

His red-tipped cane stands idle. He walks without hesitation through his shop. He handles the paperwork and billing with the help of a talking computer. He still changes fuel lines, hoists cars and changes filters.

“So much of it is done by feel anyway,” he told the Eugene Register-Guard. “I use my hands to see what I’m doing now.”

He has hired Otto Shima, 17, an apprentice from Cottage Grove High School, but they have never spoken directly. Shima was born deaf.’

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