Rusted Gold: Toledo man still going strong after 30 years in the junk business

Reporting by Joe Cromer, Photographer

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The old adage "one man's trash is another's treasure" rings true for junkyard owners everywhere.

For Paul 'Shaky' Childress of King Road Auto Parts, his life is turning junk into business. And like Fred Sanford from the 70's sitcom "Sanford and Son," Shaky sees his junkyard is like vast kingdom of which he is its king.

Shaky recycles old cars so their parts will live on. After 30 years in the business, he has become a local legend.

"Wake up in the morning, come to work and start tearing apart cars," Shaky explained.

He has been doing this same ritual for three decades. He hands are dirty, his hair is in mess and his clothes clothes are stained black. But he is the embodiment of the blue-collar worker that is celebrated in the Midwest.

It's not just cars that line the property. Old bicycles, home appliances, cabinets and fencing are just some of the scrapped items piled up along a mud-filled road.

Shaky is not just a collector of rusted metal. He knows his stuff.

He can identify any car that comes into his yard, take it apart and find the value within.

"To me, these cars are like a big game," Shaky said. "It's hide-and-seek. Find the part you need, just pull it off and make sure it looks good."

If a customer needs a water pump from a 1995 Ford Ranger, Shaky, with a cigarette hanging out of his lips, uses an old red toolbox to get the part from the vehicle.

Many times, he will reach for a socket wrench. When that is not cooperative, he has a hammer near by that will jar the part loose. Of course, he has a torch ready to get the job done as well.

Not every part on every car is good. Shaky will work hard just to get to a part only to find out that it is not worth selling.

"That's the down part of a junkyard. You got to continuously search for a good part," Shaky said. "But you just go on, smile and say, 'Well I'll just get another.' But I wouldn't want to give anything that I wouldn't want to put on my own car."

Shaky is known throughout the community for his commitment to the junk business, and while he is no doubt great at his job, he says it is never easy.

"This is hard work, I'm not even gonna say it ain't," Shaky said. "You make the best of it and just do it."

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