Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 15, 2013

Truck wreck benefits MCAS

Mercer shelter receives $4,380 gift of dog food

MAHAN — An early June truck wreck on the West Virginia Turnpike proved to be beneficial for homeless dogs in Mercer, Kanawha and Putnam counties, according to Mike Vinciguerra, president of the Mercer County Commission.

“I was traveling up to Charleston for a meeting of the Parkways Authority when all northbound traffic on the Turnpike was blocked by a truck wreck,” Vinciguerra said. The wreck occurred at about 7 a.m. on June 6 near Mahan. State Police said that the driver lost control of the truck and while there were no injuries in the wreck, bags of dry dog food were scattered all over the highway.

“The Parkways Authority delayed the start of the meeting until after the Parkway Authority members from the southern part of the state could make it. Four of us were held up in traffic,” Vinciguerra said. “After the meeting, I asked them who gets the dog food after something like that. They told me that they didn’t have anything to do with it, but suggested that I call the wrecker service that cleaned it all up.”

Vinciguerra contacted Handley-based Hutch’s Wrecker Service, a third generation family-owned wrecker service that operates wreckers that are large enough to pull tractor trailers off of the turnpike.

“When I called them, they said that they had to wait until the insurance company had checked the cargo, but then they would be getting rid of it,” Vinciguerra said. “The insurance company took pictures of the load, and they called me to say they could release it.”

James “Bear” Black, co-manager of Hutch’s Wrecker Service along with his Uncle “Bird” Hutchinson, have been working this entire week to distribute more than 600 bags of dry dog food to regional animal shelters. Volunteers with the Boone County Animal Shelter came to Hutch’s main location in Handley on Sunday to pick up the last 200 bags of dog food that the company salvaged from the wreck.

“My Uncle Bird saw the Boone County folks doing a pet food drive in Charleston over the weekend, and invited them to come out and get the last of the dog food out of the trailer we were keeping it in,” Black said. “They came out with a straight truck (Sunday) morning and loaded it all up.”

Black said that he immediately hit it off with Vinciguerra when he called about the possibility of getting the dog food. “I know times are hard for all of these animal shelters, and I know people are working hard to help the animals.” Black and a handful of his employees arrived at the Mercer County Animal Shelter on Wednesday afternoon (July 10) with three pickup trucks and two dump trailers filled with 290 40-pound bags of dry dog food.

“It was awesome!” Lisa Williams, director of the Mercer County Animal Shelter said. “We run short on food often. It’s hard to get food donations during the summer and we get a lot of animals at this time of the year. This donation will last us a good, long time.”

Black said that the Fayette County Animal Shelter came to the business and picked up 75 bags of dry dog food, but he and his employees delivered 150 bags of dog food to the Kanawha County/Charleston Animal Shelter in two pickup trucks and a dump trailer. “It took us about a week to distribute all of the dog food,” he said.

Black said that Hutch’s Wrecker Service has been a family-owned business since 1935. “We are community service oriented,” he said. “If we salvage freight from a wreck, we try to buy it and distribute it to human service agencies. We will buy food if it’s edible and see that it gets to food pantries. A few years ago, we bought 20,000 pounds of Idaho potatoes and distributed it to area food banks. We have donated lumber to Habitat for Humanity and have helped out local churches.”

“Bear Black and the people with Hutch’s Wrecker Service did a good job to help us out,” Vinciguerra said. He added that the estimated cost of the dog food that came to the Mercer County Animal Shelter alone was $4,380. “That’s a big help to us,” he said.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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