An iconic local towing company has been recognized for being one of the longest established towing businesses in the state and the country.
Wallen’s Towing and Recovery, which was established in 1933, has been ranked on the Towman 500 as compiled by American Towman Magazine.
According to Daniel Wallen, who owns the business with his father, Danny, and is the third generation to operate it, Wallen’s ranked 41 on the list nationally, and number three in Kentucky.
“We are proud of being in service for 81 years,” Daniel Wallen said. “It says something that the community supports us and continues to call on us That is why we are here.”
Wallen’s was founded by Danny’s father, Luther Wallen. It began as a full-service station at the corner of what is now Roy Kidd Ave. and South Laurel Ave.
“They did a little bit of everything,” Danny Wallen said, noting when the towing company was established, Luther Wallen started out in the gasoline business.
In 1950 Wallen’s moved to Master Street, staying at that location through the 1970s.
Wallens moved to the corner of Beatty Ave. and Master Street where Forcht Bank is now located and then, in 1996, moved to the current location on U.S. 25W.
While Danny and Daniel are the names associated with the business, it is a Wallen family business and you may see another Wallen on the tow truck.
Danny’s wife, Brenda, said she has no problem grabbing a wrecker and going on a run if needed.
“I love the excitement of it,” Brenda Wallen said, noting like any other family business, it becomes part of your life.
“You just live and breathe it,” she said.
In honor of Wallen’s milestone, the company will receive a commemorative belt buckle featuring a big number 500, a tow hook and an elephant.
Officials with American Townman noted the elephant represents towing in ancient times.
A Latin inscription on the buckle, “victoria supressendam,” translates to “victory is survival.”
“My goal is to turn the business over to the next generation,” Daniel Wallen said, noting his son, Dillon is interested in doing just that.
Photo and story by Dean Manning
For the Mountain Advocate