“He was so grateful for the success that he achieved that he felt like it was his duty to give back the community,” Harvey Jr. said.
A West Virginia native, Harvey moved with his family to a Montgomery County farm when he was still a small child. On weekdays, he would walk two miles to and from school, and if he missed the bus to Auburn High School in Riner, which he frequently did, he had to walk five more miles.
“He certainly had a very hard life growing up, no doubt about it. When you’re milking by hand 30 cows every day and then loading the milk, and hooking the horses up to a sled and dragging the milk up to the road and setting those cans out and bringing the empties back, when you’re his age, it’s pretty tough,” his son said. “It instilled a lot of values in him that probably drove him later in life.”
While serving with the U.S. Army Air Corps in Alaska, Harvey Sr. qualified for admission to West Point but decided instead to return to Southwest Virginia, where he studied business and accounting at Roanoke’s National Business College. He started out in the late 1940s operating a gas station. In 1957, he became a General Motors Chevrolet Dealer.
On Dec. 7,1959 — exactly seven years after his first child was born — Harvey Sr. started the family’s auto dealership, now owned by Harvey Jr. and his brother Brad Harvey.