Shining Star

Caring for others

Riggins defies pandemic through public works

Justin Riggins, owner and operator of JTR Repair Inc. paints an American flag Saturday outside his shop.
Justin Riggins, owner and operator of JTR Repair Inc. paints an American flag Saturday outside his shop.
Journal Review File Photo
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Complimentary car service for frontline workers and veterans, matching donations to charity — national attention for a patriotic summer feat of mammoth proportions — have all thrust JTR Repair owner Justin Riggins into the spotlight as a winner of the Journal Review’s annual Shining Star contest.

The yearly contest selects six area philanthropists for the award, nominated by Montgomery County residents, who have made a positive impact in their communities.

Owner and operator of JTR Repair east of Crawfordsville, Riggins has defied the many struggles brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) by lending a helping hand wherever it is needed.

“We just adapt and go on,” Riggins said. “No matter what, the hand that’s dealt to you ... pull up the bootstraps and get after it again. No matter what the day was like before — you can’t give up.”

Healthcare workers, children and others struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic have all benefited from Riggins’ works. Shortly after the pandemic brought the world to a halt in March, Riggins began offering free oil changes to all frontline workers battling the pandemic.

“People are under a lot of stress. Those guys and gals are just really overworked and they don’t have much time,” he said. “I just wanted to try to do something to give back to them.”

Children, their families and others hit hard by the pandemic were also on Riggins’ mind, particularly when he hosted a hog auction to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

Riggins also values keeping things local and supporting those around him, he said, especially since the virus has left no sector of industry untouched.

“It takes a tribe, basically,” he said.

On Veterans Day, free oil changes were extended to military veterans and their families. Riggins also partnered with Fat Bottom Donuts for the event.

“The restaurant business has gotten hit really, really hard, and I want to support our locals with whatever I can do to help,” he said. “Maybe I’ll raise an eyebrow of somebody else who’ll say, ‘Hey, I could do something like that too.’”

In May, Riggins raised spirits of Americans across the country when he was featured by several national news outlets for his 78-foot-tall, 137-foot-wide, 6,688-square-foot painted American flag across his runway to inspire air travelers, as well as provide photo opportunities for local seniors.

The need to stay together and the need for positive thinking, he said at the time. He also said he painted the giant flag to honor law enforcement and military personnel.

As the country moves into 2021, Riggins has a message for his fellow Montgomery County residents.

“If you take care of your community and get involved, you’ll be fine,” he said. “I just want to tell everybody ‘thank you’ and I appreciate everybody, especially in our community.”

JTR Repair is located at 5649 E. C.R. 150N. For more information, contact the shop at 765-366-8079 or visit www.facebook.com/JTRRepair.

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