On the Road: Wood Lake’s Blind Mechanic

Updated: 01/06/2014 12:52 PM KSTP.com By: Jason Davis

For decades, life has been a struggle for Steve Pottratz of Wood Lake, Minn. Steve has been a diabetic since childhood, but 25 years ago, things got a lot worse.

Always an avid driver and mechanic, he got into his truck one day to drive to the Twin Cities, and he ran into what he described as a "snowstorm.” Trouble was, it was mid July, and Steve's snowstorm was all in his sight.

He has been completely blind ever since, but it hasn't stopped this determined guy from pursuing his lifelong interest in cars and trucks.

In a small outbuilding behind his modest home in Wood Lake, Steve spends his days tinkering with all kinds of things auto. He has in the past few years completely restored a series of trucks and even a collection of kids pedal cars. Part of Steve's success — he has won numerous prizes for his work at local cars shows — must be given to his mother Dorothy. This 77-year-old dynamo not only keeps house for her and her son, but acts as assistant mechanic in the backyard workshop.

Dorothy acts as Steve's eyes when he can't figure out what he’s feeling with his sensitive fingers that have replaced his eyes.

He is so skilled at gauging things by touch he can tell the difference between a half-inch and nine-sixteenth wrench without so much as a glance.