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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It takes a Village to build a Monster Display Truck

As I sit and review the last few days, I am in awe.  Hope our Break the Chain Monster display truck turned out even better than I could have ever imagined.  But even though she is truly an amazing sight, something else happened during the build.  I was able to watch a miracle in the making.

I watched from a distance as regular guys came together with their God given talents to build this dream.  One by one they would show up and put in countless hours.  Sometimes staying and working on her until 2 or 3 in the morning, and then get up for work by 8 a.m.  This went on for weeks.  You never really knew how many would show up or on what day but there was always someone there adding a little here and a little there towards the goal.  I guess I never realized the magnitude of the project until I began going to watch them build her.  You see she started out as a 1978 GMC 3/4 ton truck that was donated to Break the Chain by Beyond Auto Repair on March 20, 2011.  She came from the junk yard, broken, beat up and not even running.  I can relate to feeling like that.  She was destined to become a parts truck and nothing more.  But, with the help of  human hands and a spiritual guide she became much more.

What she became was nothing short of a miracle.  I loved the care that she was given as all the rusty old broken pieces were carefully removed.  As the process went on she got new parts added like a 12 inch lift, and some other things, but she was still pretty rough looking.  She had a 2X6 block of wood for a bumper.  Slowly but surely they worked knowing exactly what she was going to look like when she was done.  Me on the other hand, had no idea how great this machine was going to be.  Not only did she look good, but she became an inspiration to all who helped build her. My husband Jim was like a mad scientist.  He would disappear into the shop and not come out for hours.  He worked and worked and worked on that truck and would come into the house and get me to come and see some of the really big things that we had done.  I even got to bleed the brakes!

As she got down to nothing but a frame, motor and transmission the tearing away was complete.  It was time to rebuild what had been broken for so long.  Who could of known what she was about to become years ago as she sat in the junk yard? God knew.  The guys forged ahead with the deadline looming less than a month to get this truck ready for it's debut.  Beyond Auto Repair donated their shop and tools for the guys to work with.  They began to build the cage that would hold the brand new fiberglass body.  Pain staking measurements, pipe bending, and welding were taking place.  Sometimes there were 6 guys working on her at a time!  Some would leave for t ball games, or family bbq's but they would be right back the next day digging in to get her done.  I decided to start feeding the men after finding out that they never stopped to eat.  They would get so involved with what they were doing that they lost all track of time.  Day by day, weekend after weekend, and a few days off she slowly began to take shape.  I still think that what they were able to accomplish was nothing short of a miracle!  Each one brought a different set of skills to the project, welders, pipe benders, roll cage experts, mechanics, and the like came together for one common goal.  To give "Hope" life.

As the deadline came into view we realized that our tires that were donated by Aaron Basl were still in Texas!  We had only a week and half until D day.  Mike Klein of Cascade Floors called and said to get him the address of where they were.  Cascade Floors paid to have the tires shipped up! Mike also made a financial donation to help with any extras we needed to purchase.  Amazing we received them on the Friday just before the 4th of July!  Mike picked them up and dropped them off with Cory at Stayton Tire to have them mounted.  Cory had donated a set of wheels for Hope and we were excited to see them.  They were amazing! Black and Chrome!  Cory got the wheels mounted on the tires that same day.  Which I might add was no easy task as the tires are 52 inches tall!  Not only did Cory donate the wheels and mount the tires, he also donated the shocks, racing seats and the brake lines! 

While all of this was going on, the truck was sent over to Stayton Collision to have the frame and the cage painted.  Rodney Hansen of Stayton Collision donated the entire paint job!  It took him a full 8 hours to get her painted as she has lots of roll bars, and intricate bends to paint!  Rodney is an amazing auto painter.

As the paint dried the guys took a day off to get a little sleep and check up on a few hundred honey do's that were going undone.  I have to say that the wives of these men were very patient, and knew that there was much more going on with this project than just building a truck.  These men were also building lifetime friendships.  The laughed and joked around and shared little windows into each others lives.  They bonded over this giant piece of metal. 

As they pieced her together one by one, they got a little silly.  Laughing and joking.  I was a little sad, as I knew she was almost finished.  Then it happened.  One by one they began to talk about what was next!  They have a whole list of projects that they are going to work on TOGETHER!  They are going to continue to help each other. 

As for "Hope" she's beautiful, 9 feet tall and was built with love and care.  I know they haven't quite finished with her yet, and I heard something about a 454.  Who knows what they'll do to her next! All I know is that they have my utmost respect.  I love you guys!  You are all tops in my book!
It definitely takes a Village to build a Monster Display Truck.  Now you know why her name is Hope.
You can see all the pictures of the build on Facebook.  Click on this link to Check out the picture diary of the building of Hope