Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rejoicing with Innovation Institute's First Graduating Class

“The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where…”
~The Hollies


For Harrold Andresen, it truly has been a long and winding road, but the journey has not been taken in vain. This spring Harrold, friends and family witnessed the first graduating class from Innovation Institute, the certified automotive maintenance training facility that he founded.

Harrold Andresen has owned and operated an auto repair facility of one kind or another for nearly forty years. He knows a thing or two about fixing cars. He has also demonstrated a keen aptitude for applied creativity, as in brilliant, having frequently designed tools to solve problems because those devices did not exist. He loves that facet of engineering and design, the creative process of bringing concept to completion.

His biggest “idea” and perhaps his most challenging life project has been the founding of Innovation Institute. In 2003 the first major hurdle was crossed when the school for wheelchair bound men received its 501©(3) nonprofit status. This inception was only the beginning of many years of work in finding funding for the dream.

Andresen himself has made tremendous sacrifices, converting 15 bays of his Mechanical Excellence auto repair facility into the school here in Duncanville, just south of Dallas, Tx. The time investment in acquiring tools, equipment and funding has been enormous so that seeing this year’s graduating class was enormously gratifying.

“The mission of the school is to get products into the hands of the disabled that they couldn’t get anywhere else or they couldn’t afford. Also, to give them some skills so they can earn some money for the first time in their lives,” Andresen said. “Also, to help these men achieve a greater measure of freedom and dignity.” Freedom and dignity are major motivations for many of the students who have come to the school.

The school combines Harrold’s incredibly creative mechanical aptitude with his passion to help the handicapped, especially men more drawn to activities like welding and maintenance than arts and crafts. This is no hobby project. It is a state-of-the-art vocational school for the wheelchair bound.

To read a great article about Innovation Institute, turn to page 22 in this PDF version of Duncanville Now.

To make tax deductible contributions, or to learn more how you can support Innovation Institute in other ways, contact mechanical@sbcglobal.net.

Click images to enlarge.

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