LILLINGTON — Troy Byrd loved the auto repair industry. For 52 years, he operated Byrd Garage, his auto repair business on East James Street, in Lillington. He finally retired at the age of 83, but the old Byrd Garage still stands next to the family home.
Byrd, a native of Lillington, passed away in 2003 at the age of 87. At his funeral, it was said that he had many young friends because he was so willing to mentor them as they worked on their cars.
Now, other young people who love to work on cars may receive help paying for their Automotive Systems Technology education at Central Carolina Community College thanks to the new Troy Byrd Endowed Scholarship.
His widow, Hazel, and long-time friends Reggie and Brenda Denney, of Eden, recently visited the college’s Harnett County Campus to announce the establishment of the scholarship with the CCCC Foundation.
Reggie Denney is a past chairman of the board of the national Automotive Service Association, and a former president and vice president of the ASA-NC. He runs his own auto repair shop in Eden.
“Troy Byrd was a good guy and a good friend,” Denney said. “He was an association person. I’m proud we’re able to continue his memory and his contributions.”
Byrd had been an active member of the ASA-NC for as long as anyone could remember. He had served in many positions, including executive secretary. Byrd was also a founding member and served as president of the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina. He also served a term as president of the Rotary Club of Lillington.
In recognition of his service to the ASA-NC, in 2002 the organization established a Troy Byrd Scholarship to help send North Carolina Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (now SkillsUSA) competition winners to the VICA national finals.
In 2009, the ASA-NC chapter disbanded and Hazel Byrd was asked what she wanted to do with the scholarship fund. She requested that the money be used to establish an endowed scholarship for Automotive Systems Technology students at Central Carolina Community College in memory of Troy and his life’s work in automotives.
“Troy believed in giving back,” Hazel said. “I feel super-good that he’s left a legacy that will last for generations. He loved the automotive industry. Automotive repair is a profession now and this scholarship will help students train for it.”
For more information about establishing endowments at Central Carolina Community College or applying for a scholarship, contact CCCC Foundation Executive Director Diane Glover at (919) 718-7231 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization affiliated with, but independent of, the college. It receives tax-deductible donations of money and equipment and uses them to promote the educational mission of the college and assist students through scholarships and grants.