Auto body technician uses sense of feel

 Owner Butch Murner and Aaron Ready at Rick's Auto Body
Owner Butch Murner and Aaron Ready at Rick's Auto Body (KOTA)
Published: Nov. 21, 2016 at 6:22 PM CST
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Approximately 52 million Americans have some type of disabling condition ranging from mental to physical. In our KOTA news extra we meet an inspiring group of people who overcome disabilities on a daily basis to get the job done.

It takes a steady hand. Aaron Ready is an auto body technician at Rick's Auto Body Shop in Rapid City.

"A lot of it is done by feel," says Ready as he moves his hand across a rust spot he sanding and repairing. That's important because this 31 year old wears hearing aids and is legally blind. He has a progressive disease known as Usher Syndrome.

"I work on cars, tear them apart, put them on the train. That's the stuff I like doing. I can do everything. Only thing I don't do is painting," says Ready.

Ready started at Rick's while working on a degree at Western Dakota Vocational Technical Institute. He left for California but it didn't work out.

"They hired me. Then they see the hearing aids and I tell them I can't see very well. They were like, 'What was the point in hiring you'. What they tried to do is put me in a spot where I wanted to leave," says Ready.

Rick's Auto Body owner Butch Murner was glad to take Aaron back. "They kind of had him back in the corner, buffing cars and doing stuff. He was capable of a lot more. I think it was because his hearing and eyes,” says Murner.

So Rick's got him going and Aaron just took off. "He'll come in and finish up a job or something on Saturday. He's just that hard a worker and he's that dependable."

Unfortunately Aaron's eyes are deteriorating. "It's getting worse and worse. Light is starting to get to be an issue. Dropping tools are hard to find. I'll drive over them and not even know it."

Admiring a rust spot that Ready had repaired, Murner says, "I'd like to have another one like him. And they're hard to find."

In September Aaron Ready received the South Dakota Governor's award for outstanding employee with a disability.