By Kevin Williams
Considering most Amish don't use engines, the odds of finding an Amish engine-repair man seem to be about as high as finding an Amish electrician. But an Amish engine repairman is exactly what I found while exploring rural Highland County, Ohio last week.
Three church districts call the area south of Leesburg, Ohio home. Each church has about 25 families and many of them moved to this less-crowded part of the world from northern Ohio. I stopped by the shop of Ammon Coblentz, a genial Amish Dad. Like many Amish fathers he was looking for a way to work from home. He had been working in construction, but with no experience in engine repair, decided to make the leap. But first he'd have to learn about repairing engines. So he enrolled in a correspondence course with Stratford Career Institute.
"Everything was done by mail, I ordered the books and took the tests all by mail," Coblentz said. That seems something of an anomaly in today's world of online testing and online everything. There's a framed diploma from SCI displayed prominently on Coblentz's wall. It got me thinking about such courses, take a look at SCI's offerings and programs here. While most Amish frown upon formal higher education, I'm thinking that there's some wiggle room when it comes to vocational training. But this was as close to a college diploma as I've seen an Amish person have.
Coblentz will repair just about any engine imaginable: lawn-mowers, snow-mobiles When I was there a middle-aged couple brought in a moped.
"Do you have any experiences repairing mopeds?" The coupled asked.
"I think I can probably handle that," Coblentz said confidently.
This is a busy time of year for Coblentz with it being lawn-mower repair season so he told the couple that he'd get a hold of them in about a week.
"That's fine, we're not in a hurry," the couple said.
I asked Ammon about the irony of being an engine repairman when he's not using most of the items he is repairing. He just chuckled.
With only 9 acres of land Coblentz said his engine repair shop is a perfect fit. You can also pick up some free-range eggs while you're there. These are some other scenes from Coblentz's place.