Employee Engagement Coordinator Lauren Murray let us know this week that Roseville VW suffered a terrible loss last month with the death of technician Bryan O’Neill. I didn’t know Bryan at all, but I feel like I did after reading the moving tribute paid to him by his shop foreman, Brian Lemos:
“Bryan came to us from Del Oro High School through their R.O.P. [Regional Occupation Program, a California high school workforce training program]; Bryan was our first R.O.P. student. It wasn’t long before everyone noticed his work ethic and determination. He was always on time, entering the Auto Mall in his ’68 VW Baja Bug and revving the engine as he rounded the corner to employee parking. After a day of friendly harassment, sweeping the floors and lending a hand to anyone who needed it, Bryan would ask for a quart of oil to top off his car for the drive home. As we grew to know and trust him, we began to understand Bryan’s past: abandoned by a drug-addicted mother and raised by a single father with two other siblings, the family moved from town to town following work. One day towards the end of his shift, we noticed Bryan’s mood was not as upbeat as usual and that something was up. He was almost in tears as he admitted that times were tough for his family and he would need to drop the R.O.P. program in order to help his family with the rent. All of us techs put money together to buy him a gas card in order to stay in the program and finish. I feel that Bryan never forgot about that, and we had a brother for life — Bro’neill, we called him. He had so many things working against him during those adolescent years, but Roseville Volkswagen provided normalcy for him in a life otherwise filled with stress and turmoil. He was a brother, friend and son to me. He was always kind, and made me reevaluate situations that I could have handled better. He was a sponge for knowledge, and seeing him grow to one of our top-producing, reliable technicians was the biggest payback of any investment I’ve ever made.
“In recent years, Bryan started dating Anna, a former high school friend with a similar background, which made theirs the most loving and powerful relationship I’ve ever witnessed. Anna’s mother lived with them in times of need, and they ultimately got her enrolled in a substance-abuse program. Bryan always spoke highly of Anna and how proud he was of her for taking college nursing courses. In one of the last conversations that I had with Bryan, on the Friday before his passing, he told me that he had to work extra hard to save money because Anna was going to apply for nursing school, and if accepted she’d be unable to work. As all of the techs talked about Bryan the Monday morning after his death, we were all worried about Anna; unfortunately they had not yet married, so she received no benefits. She is young and lived with Bryan, their 2 dogs, and a rescue horse. Like Bryan, Anna is very intelligent, thoughtful and determined to make something of herself.
“As a shop we are all proud of where we work and who we work for. Holman is very much like the family we are here: they do so much for the communities they impact and the employees who work for them. So we thought that maybe there’s something we can all do to assist Anna to reach her dreams, as a tribute or thank you to Bryan for giving so much to all of us. Both Bryan and Anna have never been ones for handouts, and when we made a GoFundMe to pay for the service the service, Anna politely asked us to take it down as Bryan would not have wanted the handout for himself. I feel that if we as a company were able to use funds to assist Anna in her pursuit of a nursing degree, it wouldn’t be a handout but something that Bryan worked hard for and earned.”
If you would like to honor Bryan’s memory and help the shop at Roseville VW contribute towards Anna’s nursing degree, please go to their GoFundMe site.