“I wasn’t always a Snap-on guy. I am a mechanic by trade, but I prefer the clean nails now”, jokes Steve Fell, Snap-on Franchisee, Torquepower customer and para athlete. “Ordinarily, Snap-on trucks must be a Hino or Isuzu but mine is completely different to fit my needs , a one off – a beautifully fitted out Western Star with a walk-through from the cab, powered by a sweet-sounding Cummins ISLe5.”
“I completed an apprenticeship with the NZ Army, and when I had my motorcycle accident in 1982 they probably should have medically discharged me, but asked me stay on until 1986.” Steve jokes – “ I borrowed the motor cycle involved, but when I gave it back, it wasn’t working very well. I turned 19 when I was in hospital. I was expected to be a mechanic but with a smashed pelvis that never repaired, and both legs and an arm that had been broken, I really couldn’t do the work. Cold made the body pain even worse, and I moved to Australia, with the dream of driving coach tours all over the country “
“ At the time I was young and I could handle the pain. I could walk, but not very well. I met my wife when she was the bus tour hostess, we married and have 3 amazing beautiful girls. “Sweet, Dry and Draught”, I call them – two have already graduated from university, one as an Interior Designer who creates kids playgrounds, and the other a Vet Technician. The youngest is a third year Apprentice Chef. My wife and I decided to do something for ourselves; with just Monday to Friday work, and no employees, so we looked at a Snap-on franchise. We put up our house as collateral. Now, we are not far away from owning this truck. “
Whilst Steve is now full time in a wheel chair, he looks extremely fit. “ I only use an electric chair at work as it elevates 10 inches and I can reach the top parts. At home and with sport I use a push chair. I was always a sportsman, I played rugby, cricket and tennis. I had been trying to play social tennis standing up but was in so much pain, I started playing wheelie basketball with the Sporting Wheelies. Wheelchair Tennis is harder on the hands, when you first start your hands are ripped to bits, and I have the callouses to prove it.”
“I competed in the Toronto Games as an Invictus Military para-athlete last year in basketball, tennis and swimming, where I felt pretty special being next to Barack Obama on the basketball court, and Prince Harry at the closing ceremony. I am training three nights each week now ahead of the Invictus Sydney Games in October this year. It’s exhausting and I’m usually asleep by 7.30pm.”
“Challenges at work? Well there are some workshops I can’t get into, but the guys generally hear me pull up. Stock deliveries are Tuesday. Now that I’m in a chair, it takes a lot longer to bring all the stuff in . My neighbour help me tick it off. My customers are diesel specialists like Torquepower, small workshops, panel beaters, dealership and upholsterers in Archerfield through to Mount Gravatt. I’ve been supplying Torquepower with tools since 2001 and I’ve been a Torquepower Cummins parts customer since I bought my new rig in 2017. I also use a Cummins generator to power the air con and everything in the truck. It runs all day, but that’s a Cummins for you. Anything, I need, I just ring Bruce and he has my filters, oils, everything is ready waiting for me. “
I asked Steve, what frames his great attitude? “ I don’t think I’m exceptional, I just do what I do and have fun. Sometimes I get very depressed when major physical things going wrong, I’ve had 9 strokes – 2 really bad ones. I was watching the 2011 World Rugby Cup when I had a stroke in my eyeball. I couldn’t drive after that for 3 months, which I hated. I have a great family though, my Dad counselled me to marry a farm girl, and I did. My wife Colleen is from a dairy farming family and is fabulous. My four beautiful girls keep me going, and I just like to get out there. “
www.torquepower.com.au – Working hard since 1978 to support quiet heroes like Steve Fell.