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Abilene Mechanic Takes A Leap Of Faith And Runs For City Council

ABILENE, TX – God gave humankind intelligence and free choice; it is up to us to use these gifts wisely in the context of our environments, whether these include luxuries and a life of ease or a route so arduous we might all view it with apprehension. James Sargent used his strong spirit to overcome adversity as a youngster and later in life while serving in the military. Sargent made the right decision when given the option between taking the highway or just leaving.

Born and raised on the beach side of the Gulf of Mexico, south of Houston, James moved to Abilene when he served in the military and was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base.

James had a very difficult childhood. His father was an abusive alcoholic, and his mother also suffered from addiction. He did not have a healthy relationship with his parents, and his life at home wasn’t what any child should have to go through. He explains:

“There were inherent risks and safety of life concerns frequently living at home with my dad. So much so that, as I got into my teen years, it was safer for me (at times) to stay and sleep on the streets in cardboard boxes and behind buildings or in culverts than it was in that house.”

Nevertheless, despite all the challenges he faced, he came to understand that focusing on what he had to be grateful for was far better than dwelling on the negative aspects of life for the rest of one’s days. He decided to end the family’s cycle of abuse and offer his family a better example than he’d had when growing up. James is a spiritual person who has put his past behind him and is working hard to better himself, others, and the community. He states:

“God can make me a new creation. Someone who can encourage others, who can speak life through challenging times, who can break down barriers, who can walk with other men facing hard times, and who is not afraid to stand against the odds in life, who will stand up for what is right, who can relate to those who have felt overlooked and unloved.”

His wife, Keavy Sargent, is the love of his life. They have been blessed with two daughters; their eldest daughter just turned 18 and is preparing to start her college journey. While their youngest daughter, who was brought to the family about a year ago through a foster agency, is about to turn 5.

The couple also share similar interests that include their love for Jesus Christ, dogs, food, traveling, and, most importantly, cars and bikes. His wife enjoys riding bikes as well; in fact, she purchased one in 2004. She is a certified welder, and when she’s not busy helping others at her job that is in the health field. She is lending a hand at the shop. Currently, she’s repairing the rusting body of a 1968 Mustang and creating unique frames for a non-profit ministry, supported by her husband’s assistance and their shared enthusiasm for the work. All of this shows their family’s passion for inventive labor that will endure indefinitely.

James is the owner of Auto Aide Repair in Abilene, Texas. He calls his business a “faith and family” friendly establishment. The whole family works together, with their other employees, to get the jobs done. The strength of this family is that they all are welded together through similar interests and support each other no matter what.

In 2014, the repair business officially opened its doors as Abilene’s full-service garage. The self-service option was ultimately discontinued, and the name was later changed to Auto Aide Repair in 2021. James claims that his faith in God and his family’s fondness for cars and bikes are the reasons he started this entire enterprise. He developed an interest in vehicle maintenance because of memories of his father working on a vintage CJ-7 renegade truck in the 1980s. Moreover, he states:

“Helping members in the community inspired me. Providing that learning opportunity for others that I did not have growing up. To continue to learn and develop my skills in the automotive world and have a positive impact on those around me.”

James’ company is up and running as a result of the community’s support and his efforts to help them in any way he can. James talks about loyal staff as if they were his own family. Discussing how they support one another and operate as a team, he states:

“Auto Aide Repair’s office manager for over 2.5 years is Mrs. Cara Tentzer, a mighty woman of God and a tremendous blessing to us and to anyone she comes in contact with. Cara has truly taught me that grace is a strength. Our all-around shop guy is Mr. Jeff Joye, who has been with us for several months now. Jeff is full of wisdom and life experiences and works toward excellence in anything he commits to do. There is no task I’ve seen Jeff back down from or walk away from.”

They recently welcomed a new team member, Greg Florez. Greg is a hard-working young man who brings a broad toolbox of skills and experience to their team. One of the things that James honors and respects about Greg is that, even though he is the newest and youngest member of the team, he is invested in Auto Aide Repair — not just for the business side of the shop, but the family, community, and ministry focus as well.

One of Jame’s greatest achievements in his community work is his running for the city council. The military man read about all of the country’s founding documents, including the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence before running for office. He quotes Aristotle as his inspiration: “Justice, therefore, demands that no one should do more ruling than being ruled, but that all should have their turn.”

Considering this idea from Aristotle, James looked at the issue of local government with the same thought and found flaws to be fixed. He and his wife knew that he’d run for city council at some point in life. James did not win the election but had a great campaign and support from the community as a 1st time candidate. Which got a lot of attention from the local media. He says that it was a very educational experience. Furthermore, he adds, “My wife and I will continue in prayer if I should run again or not.”

James has always had a burning desire to give back to the community. Over the years, he has bought several automobiles and fixed them up to give them to those in need. He rebuilt the whole engine of a minivan and donated it to a church. The van is still used to transport orphans and other children in need of shelter and food. According to James, “that is the kind of impact that makes the struggle worth it.”

In addition to everything else, he and his wife’s shared passion for motorcycles has caused them to become inseparable as they travel the backroads on their 1998 Harley Heritage Softail and 2005 Honda VTX1300 motorcycles. When James purchased his first motorcycle in 2000, he developed a love for riding and was constantly inspired by his uncle, who rode a 1971 Harley Ironhead. James says:

“My first official ride on the Ironhead was on my wedding day. As we left the Chapel, my wife and I were on our bikes. I even had an oil stain on the inside of the jeans I wore at the wedding because I had to work on the bike in the morning to get it to run.”

Today, James has his head up high and is devoted to God’s glory. His business is running with the support of the community, daily effort from his staff and support family. Which he says are blessings that he never overlooks or takes for granted.

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