Diabetes, breast cancer among the causes

Gray’s Towing has 16 wreckers that are always on call, but four of them have a special mission.

The Havelock business, which celebrates its 50th year in 2017, has been progressively adding themed trucks to its line.

The four trucks, which have been added in the last three years, feature breast cancer, diabetes and autism awareness, and a fourth is called a Move Over truck.

Michael Gray had the idea to do the themed trucks after seeing another tow company in North Carolina promoting awareness.

“We got that one done, and it just kind of snowballed into doing the other ones,” he said. “We have autism, and now the most recent one is diabetes awareness,” said Gray.

The diabetes awareness truck was done to support a driver who was diabetic and two employees with children who have diabetes.

Digicam, a digital camouflage, is the under layer on the trucks, which each have artwork that connects with the theme.

Kristy Gray, Michael’s wife, did most of the designing.

“She is a lot more artistic than I am,” he said.

It cost the company about $1,500 per truck to have the design work “wraps” applied to the trucks. The work was done by Crystal Coast Graphic in Jacksonville and ABC Signs in Havelock.

The Move Over truck is nearest and dearest to Gray. One tow truck driver is killed each week on the country’s roadways.

“That’s the inspiration behind this truck,” said Gray. “We’re trying to get the message out to move over no matter what color the lights are. Wreckers were added about two years ago to red lights, blue lights, yellow lights, whatever they are, you are supposed to move over and give us the room to work on the side of the road. More tow truck drivers are killed every year than fire and EMS personnel combined.”

Gray’s Towing does about 80 hookups a day in its territory that stretches from east of Kinston to the Crystal Coast.

Not only do the trucks bring awareness to the causes, but Gray’s Towing also makes donations to entities such as the Carolina East Foundation and the Autism Society of Carteret County.

“In the month of October, which is breast cancer, we try to do a dollar for every call that particular truck does the whole month,” said Gray. “The first year we did it, I think we donated $1,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Autism is April. We did the same thing then, a dollar a call.”

The company’s theme trucks were just featured in an article in Tow Professionals magazine.

“I would say 99 percent of it is positive,” said Gray.