Big-Time Boxes: Edward Herendeen

Sept. 6, 2013
A toolbox full of love.


Edward Herendeen

Ivy Tech Community College

South Bend, IN


Before being a community college instructor teaching auto repair, Edward Herendeen was working in a dealership. At that time his wife Melanie was the service writer there.

One eventful day in 2002, Herendeen and his wife were eating lunch using a drawer on his old toolbox as a tabletop. 

"The Matco dealer walks in and hands me a brochure to look through," he recounts. "My wife looked at me and said, 'You should buy a new toolbox because your's looks like ($#!%).' So that is what made me buy it."

In fact, most of the features on Herendeen's toolbox are inspired by his wife. "She has her own name plate on it next to mine, because if it was not for her, I would not have it," he says. "It started out with one side box, and it looked lopsided. So when I bought the other side box, she said a hutch with locking door would look nice as well. I had to top it off with a top horizontal locker.

"The entire box is outlaw black, and has deep red drawer handles and trim. These colors were not only our high school colors...they were (more importantly and coincidentally) also our wedding colors."

The toolbox has many atypical features, including track lighting under the hutch. It also has 50 translucent red C-9 bulbs that border the inside just for show while the overhead horizontal locker has red tube lights bordering the inside of each side as well. A water gumball machine, stop light, clock/TV/phone/radio and laptop computer complete the package.

Yet, inside the toolbox is about $75,000 in tools, a collection that continues to grow even though Herendeen is a full-time instructor. In fact, he continues to get his Snap-on MODIS scan tool updated, because that allows him to "use (it) with newer vehicles without having to buy a completely new tool."

The average owner of a big-time box usually notes the dissatisfaction that his wife has with his purchase. Herendeen sees it much differently.

"What makes me most proud of my toolbox is the fact that my wife talked me into buying it," he points out. "There is no 'his-n-her money' in our house. It is 'our' money... It represents our marriage because of the colors and because we bought it together. We have been together for 18 years, married for 16. We have never had a fight because we communicate well."

It appears Herendeen has a marriage as durable as his toolbox.

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