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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 12 - June 18, 2019

Honoring an Originator

Bill 1b160Book Review: "Bill Jackson's Wreckers International Newsletters 1976-1990"

By Randall C. Resch

Having served in first responder capacities for 50 years, I fancy myself as being one of the industry's self-proclaimed historians. In doing so, I've uncovered tow history and lore that's helped to identify some of the persons responsible for creating modern-day training and techniques. I recognize there's value in learning the roots of our past as well as upholding and saluting our founding forefathers.

If you're a true industry professional the name Bill Jackson isn't new. Jackson's name is synonymous with professional industry training, sales, and manufacturing of towing and recovery product worldwide. The industry legend was best known from 1976 to 1990 when he authored tow-related articles through a series of newsletters, fittingly titled, "Wrecker News." As a kid, I remember reading Bill Jackson's newsletters in my father's tow business.

Bill was credited for being the innovator of twin-boom tow trucks that first appeared in the British Isles. His accolades are many: creating the original heavy-lift air cushion system, starting towing and recovery training in the 1960s where he started accident recovery training in the United Kingdom.

After that, Bill promoted the first tow shows in the United States while setting up tow equipment dealerships in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Nigeria, South Africa and the U.S. He was a well-known industry instructor who wrote as many as eight books on accidents and recovery, and making 23 accident and recovery training videos.

Pages of Gold

It was my pleasure to recently meet with Bill's son Bruce and his grandson Jonathan at the American Towman Exposition. The son and grandson of the late tow industry training legend were there with copies of "Bill Jackson's Wreckers International Newsletters, 1976-1990," a reference book written by Bruce.

Bruce's book is 155 pages loaded with hundreds of industry snippets, photos, diagrams and comments that are fun reading and historically valuable. Bill Jackson truly believed that knowledge was power, and felt worthy of sharing the progress and difficulties along the way.

Honoring an Originator

The book is a great representation of the journey our industry has taken. Bruce shares his father's recovery stories, combining Bill's personal take of the industry, and the many, many stories sent to him by tow friends and audiences relating to two very important things: tow operator professionalism and safety.

It's important to carefully read each mini-article in "Wreckers International Newsletters" to glean bits of technique and history while discovering just how far our industry has advanced.

Bruce Jackson has created a long-lasting and historically important document of the industry through his father's words, with hopes to continue not only his legacy, but to preserve our industry's precious past. "Bruce Jackson's Wreckers International Newsletters" is a fun and wonder-inspiring book. If you're a tow history buff like me, you'll appreciate the years of history and comments that make it a fun and fascinating read.

Kudos to you Bruce. It's available online at

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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