Unveiled: A Fallen Hero’s Dream Ride
Last month, we featured a story about one Missouri family’s efforts to turn a 1951 Chevy pickup into a rolling memorial to their son, Lance Corporal Phillip Vinnedge, and the 25 other Marines in his regiment killed during their seven month tour in Afghanistan. The only thing we couldn’t show you were pictures of the amazing artwork that adorns this very special truck…until now.
Moving and deeply personal stories are at the heart of the Historic Vehicle Association’s new This Car Matters initiative—stories like those spotlighted in the May 2012 eNews article, “Remembering the Fallen.” You can check out a sample of the reader comments we received in this issue’s Web Talk. But first, we need to answer the question on the minds of everyone who took the time to respond:
When can we see the truck?
An estimated 15,000 Memorial Day visitors to Six Flags St. Louis had the opportunity to see the 1951 Chevy they dedicated to their son and the Marine of his unit killed in Afghanistan during their 2010-11 tour. The real crowd stopper, according to Vinnedge, was the custom paint job by Indiana airbrush artist “Harry Did It!”
Julie Vinnedge says the support of everyone involved in the 18 month-long project is something she’ll never forget. Thanks to the scores of donors and sponsors from the Missouri restoration community, the truck itself turned out better than she could have hoped.
“A couple families of sons who served with Phillip showed up for the unveiling including a friend of Phillip’s who was actually there with him in Afghanistan,” says Julie. “It was very emotional but also very comforting and rewarding to have so many see this tribute to Phillip and his fellow Marines.”
Julie says the Fallen Hero’s Dream Ride will now be used to help local charities and remind everyone about the sacrifices all military families make. Already she has received 12 requests to show the truck this year at events, which include car shows, at least one Fourth of July event, and a military car show at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.
For more information, please visit, www.fallenherosdreamride.org.