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As we rush around buying presents, we must always remember that “our presence rather than our presents” is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
– Catherine Pulsifer  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 12 December 2019  

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Bill Radford

  That windshield guy
  By Bill Radford

   Editor’s note: We realize this is nepotism at its best, but John Barrette has become a fixture in Falcon. With an “office” outdoors, people stop by to say hi; they wave at him, he repairs almost everyone’s chipped windshields; thus, we thought the community would like to know a bit more about John!

   You may not know John Barrette, but odds are you've seen him if you have lived in Falcon for long.
   Barrette owns and operates The Windshield Guys, a windshield repair business. His car is his office; and, for years he set up shop across the road from Bartlett Hay and Feed Co. Now, he is based in the parking lot of Falcon Highlands Marketplace, east of Walmart and close to Jimmy John's; there are marked parking spots reserved for any customers who happen by.
   John is married to Michelle Barrette, publisher of “The New Falcon Herald.” Girls run in the family; they have three daughters and four granddaughters. While John and Michelle live in Monument, "Basically, Falcon is home to me," John Barrette said. "I spend more time here than anywhere else." When he is not working in Falcon, he is often playing in Falcon; he is an avid golfer and tries to get out to Antler Creek Golf Course every morning before work.
   Barrette was born in Sacramento, California, but moved to Colorado as a kid and considers himself a native Coloradan. He met Michelle while they were students at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. He left UNC to attend the Colorado Springs Police Academy in the early '80s
   Although he graduated from the academy, he stumbled into a career in high-tech before he could hit the streets as a police officer.
   "I had done all the testing for the Springs Police Department and had to find something to do while they were waiting to hire," Barrette said. "And I got hired at Honeywell — and never looked back."
   From Honeywell, Barrette went to work for a software company for 10 years. That job took him to California's Silicon Valley for the first year, before moving back to Colorado to open the Denver office. Meanwhile, more moves were ahead for the Barrettes; they lived in Parker and Castle Rock before settling in Monument.
   Wanting to do something different, he started The Windshield Guys in late 2002.
   "I was a sales rep for all those years essentially, either a consultant or a flat-out sales rep, and I was tired of it," he said. "So I thought, I've got to find something I can do."
   “Something to do" became windshield repair. And Falcon seemed prime territory. Back then, everything in Falcon was two-lane, undivided highway fed by gravel roads — “a recipe for windshield damage,” Barrette said.
   "Basically, what I do is repair chips and cracks. There's no appointment necessary; you just pull in. If you have comprehensive insurance, insurance pays the total cost of the repair, so there's no out of pocket expense. …The customer just needs to know two things: the policy number and when the damage happened."
   The repair work entails using an injector to force an acrylic resin into the crack or chip.
   "The glass does most of the work," he said. "The physical property of glass is capillary action. Once you get the resin flowing in, that crack or chip will tend to draw that out to the tips."
   Don't expect the chip to vanish completely, Barrette said. "I like to describe a repaired chip as becoming a conversation piece, as opposed to an annoyance. They become more of a ghost of themselves, but you always see them."
   And why go to the trouble of getting those seemingly minor chips or cracks addressed so quickly?
   "It saves the windshield," Barrette said. Without a repair, the crack can spread, eventually leading to the need for a new windshield — the reason the insurance company pays for those repairs. "It saves them a ton of money by repairing a windshield, rather than replacing it,” he added.
   Don't look to him to repair windshields damaged by hail. A windshield has inside and outside panes; while a rock will typically damage just the outside pane, hail will break the inside. "When hail breaks a windshield, it's beyond repair,” Barrette said.
   In the summer, he sets up shop from around 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Sunday. He said business is consistent.
   "A chipped windshield is destiny," he said. "It's just going to happen.”
Reserved parking spots await customers of John Barrette's windshield repair business.
The Windshield Guys is really one guy: John Barrette. He has had the mobile windshield-repair business in Falcon for more than 15 years.
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