The Dec. 26 fire at Skuce Repairs in Vernon destroyed the main shop of the business. Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Cooper

VERNON – The new year is bringing a huge challenge for Ron and Linda Skuce.

They operate Skuce Repairs in Vernon.

Ron, a mechanic is Linda’s son.

Skuce Repairs, established in 1988 by Linda and Albert Skuce was destroyed in a fire on Boxing Day, 2021. A suspected electrical issue in the building’s walls has been said to be a tentative cause of the blaze.

The main building destroyed in the fire was their main work area, a building put up in 1995.

Since its beginning, Skuce Repairs has worked to become an important part of Eastern Ontario’s agricultural community, repairing farm equipment, and helping out their community.

While the Skuces wait for the capital from insurance companies to rebuild, they have decided to keep moving forward despite the loss of their building. The family business has five full-time employees.

Linda’s niece, Brenda Thomas-Deugo, has stepped up to organize a Go-Fund-Me page for the business.

The business was the only source of income for the family business.

Thomas-Deugo said in a Facebook post, “It is the heart and soul of the Metcalfe and Winchester farming communities. A dedicated family run business, it has been a place to stop in for a coffee and have a visit, get great advice, or find a rare part. Linda along with Ron and Barry and their staff have kept local farmers and their equipment rolling for years. They now need our help.”

She noted that the building will likely be a total loss.

“With the shop destroyed, they will not be able to generate any income for several months. Anyone who wishes to help can donate via Go-Fund-Me.”

It has only been two weeks since the fire, but former customers, friends and neighbours have responded to the call for help.

Linda said, ”You cannot believe the support that we have. It has been absolutely incredible. We cannot believe just how good people are.”

Linda has worked in the shop for 33 years.

Originally Linda was a mother and teacher. When her and her late husband Albert started their business she took on a new career.

To Linda, the disaster of the fire has been overshadowed by the community’s reaction. “It’s all about the customers, and friends here helping. I do not know how I can ever thank them enough,” she said.

Ron and Linda are committed to moving forward and to rebuild.

“We are already working in the garage and what we call the paint shop, so we are already up and working,” she said.

The decision to rebuild has been made, however Linda and Ron are just now having a chance to go into the destroyed shop to see what can be salvaged. There are tractors inside the shop that have to be looked at as well as some tools, tractor tires, and parts, but it may take a while to sort out what they can use and what will have to be replaced.

At least 33 volunteers, have been arriving on a daily basis at the site and have descended on the business, cleaning up the damaged building, and setting up shop on a smaller scale in a garage.

The plan is to work out of the original Skuce Repairs’ building which is their garage.

So far, volunteers have been able to assemble the belts, batteries and bolts section. The availability of parts still requires a phone call to see what is available.

Their phone lines, and internet are back up and running.

“Its only stuff,” she said, “but we are still here.”

If you want to help you can go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-skuce-repairs-rebuild or go to Facebook and search for Skuce Repairs then follow prompts.

You can also call them at 613-774-5612.

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