Tow trucks take over Tiffin to honor one of their own

(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Have you ever seen multiple tow trucks at a traffic accident? Well how about 6 dozen?

That's how many tow trucks were in Tiffin Thursday, to honor a beloved member of their community.

Joe Keller passed away at 51 years old over the weekend, he co-owned John's Towing and Welding since 1990.

As a sign of respect, the entire tow truck community in the area took part in a special procession.

Joe and his brother Jim took ownership of the company their father John founded in 1948.

Over the years, Joe became a familiar face along the roads of Seneca County, and taught his sons Jason and John all about the business.

"He was a great guy, a great dad. He worked hard and taught us everything we know. Taught us our work ethic," said Joe's son Jason Keller.

"He'd help anybody out. If he saw you on the side of the road, he'd pull over and see if you needed a hand. Just do anything to help anybody," said Joe's other son John Keller.

Joe fought an immune system deficiency for decades, but continued to work, but for the last year and a half his health continued to slip.

He died on Saturday, and instead of being placed in a hearse, Joe appropriately asked to be loaded onto one of his tow trucks.

That wasn't his only request.

"Before he passed away, he told us he wanted as many tow trucks as Tiffin could hold. And he wanted it loud," said Jason.

Joe was escorted from the funeral home by more than 70 other tow truck operators from all across Northern Ohio.

The show of solidarity is a common sight within the tow truck community, and drives home how these men and women build a bond together while serving their communities along our roadways.

"You know, it's just everybody showing that we're all out there, we all risk our lives on these highways," said Joe's brother Jim Keller. "And it's just, people ought to respect us a little when they're out there along the road and realize what we do."

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