By Sue Moore
“I’ve had to turn down thousands of calls this winter,” laments Mike Braat, owner of Vicksburg Towing service. “I’m one guy with two trucks. Dealing with the sheer amount of calls, is challenging,” he says. He’s picked up some 40-50 snow plow trucks that have been stuck, mostly because of the weight of the snow. “It’s been tough on the guys plowing. They have to spend a lot of time, just fixing their trucks.”
Braat started his own Vicksburg towing business in July 2012 after years driving trucks for H & H Feed and Grain, and another eight years with Mark’s Towing in Schoolcraft. He says the good news is that all this snow will be melted in two months. Then most of his work will come from service managers and insurance companies and be more routine. His service area centers in the Vicksburg school district, but he has gone as far as Cannonsburg and Greenville to pick up a car.
He claims he can tow anything but having keys makes it a lot less work. “You can even take all four wheels off and I’ll move it,” he claims. He runs with older trucks, especially his flatbed during the winter as there is a lot less to go wrong and cause problems mechanically. “Anything completely off the road is hard to pick up. I have to shovel and dig out by hand, to not damage the car. I’ve picked up a lot of cars that have bottomed out in their very own driveway. People with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive figure they can drive anywhere and then they just get stuck, even more than regular cars.”
His normal uniform in these winter months consists of long underwear, t-shirt, uniform pants and a sweatshirt. “If you see me wearing a coat, that means it’s really cold, probably 20 below, because I’m in and out of the truck so much,” Braat explains.