Guest Blog: Moving Flint Forward with Vern’s Collision
By Skyelar Herriman
Vern’s Collision has been a part of my life since I was born. It’s also been a part of the community’s life for more than 49 years. Vern’s Collision was started by my great-grandpa, Vern Herriman, and is now being continued on by my grandpa, Michael Herriman.
When you walk into the shop, you are greeted by my whole family—even my dog Zippy. Having a family business is not something you see much anymore, but I think it’s cool and I am very proud to be a part of it.
At the end of 2019, we were excited to learn that our business was a recipient of the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program. This has helped keep our doors open and has made Vern’s Collision a prettier and safer place. Because of the loss of revenue from COVID-19, without this grant, we would not have been able to afford fixing our exterior doors, which were damaged due to weather-related causes, and fixing our parking lot so that it’s easier for customers to get around.
Something else that we were able to do with this grant was hire Holmes Building & Construction also received this grant and have them do some of the repairs on our building. This was a great way to make great connections and share our common interest for community service.
As part of the Moving Flint Forward program, each grantee worked with a local nonprofit organization, either through volunteering, coordinating a service project or providing a service pro bono. Thankfully, with this being a family business, not only do we work together, we also love to volunteer together. One of the things that I am most proud in my life is the work that my family and I have done at Thread Lake. We started volunteering at Thread Lake eight years ago through the Flint River and Community Cleanup organized by the Flint River Watershed Coalition and have continued ever since.
When I was first asked by my grandpa to come and clean up a lake, I thought that it would be so boring, and I kept thinking of all the other more fun things that I would rather do. Then I got there, and I realized how much of a difference that we could make in this community and from then on I looked forward to clean-up day every year. Thread Lake really showed me that when people come together, anything is possible.
Earlier this year, my grandfather and a few other volunteers filled more than a dozen garbage bags with trash they found along the west shore of the lake. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate because they decided to limit the number of volunteers due the COVID-19 pandemic. This clean-up has been a major part of my life every year and not being able to participate this year really bummed me out.
I am very grateful for the Moving Flint Forward grant and hope that things will return to normal soon, so that next year I can participate in the clean-up!
To learn more about Vern’s Collision, visit vernscollisionandglass.com.
To learn more about the Moving Flint Forward program, which is a collaborative effort between General Motors and the Chamber, visit developflintandgenesee.org/moving-flint-forward.
Skyelar Herriman recently graduated from Kearlsey High School. She is now starting her first year at the University of Michigan, where she will study kinesiology.