Keeping the police fleet running

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He’s been tinkering around with vehicles since he was a teenager, and this month Thomas Stidstone celebrates 15 years of being a city of Socorro employee.

The 28-year mechanic can usually be found alongside the Socorro Police Department, maintaining a fleet of 30 vehicles in their mechanic shop or repairing one of his own vehicles at home.

“I’m always tinkering around with something — one of the cars or trucks,” Stidstone said.

And it doesn’t matter if he’s working underneath a mounted vehicle or inside of a car engine because he enjoys every minute of it.

Stidstone started working for the city in 1997 as a mechanic for city vehicles. He transferred to the Police Department after 11 years.

“I thought it would be neat to work on police cars,” he said.

Before joining the city workforce, Stidstone specialized in transmissions for Automatic Automotive for 10 years.

The life-long Socorro resident said he started tinkering with anything that had four wheels when he was 14 years old.

“I’ve just always liked working on cars – messing around with them, fixing them and tinkering with them,” said the 45-year-old.

Before vehicles, he would take apart his bicycles, repaint them, add larger tires or different seat sizes or combine two old bicycles to create a new one.

In 2003, Stidstone began restoring a 1970 Chevy pickup truck — something he’d been itching to do since he played in a broken down version in his friend’s backyard. From the ground up, Stidstone tore apart the original vehicle and replaced its parts over a five-year period.

The end result was a fully-restored light green truck with chrome design, reupholstered dark green seats and aluminum rims. Stidstone showcased his masterpiece in Belen and Albuquerque during car shows.

The 1985 Socorro High School graduate said he plans to continue working for the city until retirement, which is about 10 years away. But he said even when he reaches that mark, he might stay on board doing what he enjoys — working on vehicles.

 


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.