Groups to restore, raffle truck as fundraiser for homeless vets

DANVILLE — The Midwest Veterans Association Inc. and a sponsor of the association's annual Thunder Ride Benefit are teaming up to raise awareness and money to help homeless vets.

The group plans to fully restore a 1954 Chevrolet 3100 five-window truck, which was donated by Tee Pak credit union earlier this summer.

The vintage truck, called the Patriot Truck, will be raffled off at the association's Thunder Ride in August 2014 with all of the proceeds going to the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund of East Central Illinois and West Central Indiana.

"This is truly a grass-roots effort from the ground up," said Susan Gutterridge, president of the Midwest Veterans Association, a local nonprofit organization that formed to help eradicate homelessness among veterans. So far, the group has raised about $20,000 to assist in getting them off the street.

"We are inviting everyone to be a part of this special tribute."

The truck is now a dull gray, but it's in good condition, Gutterridge said. She said it will be restored and decorated with a patriotic theme.

Now organizers of the Patriot Truck Restoration Project are looking for donations and volunteers who can assist with the restoration.

"There are so many facets to be considered with this kind of project — engine, body work, interior, paint design," said Gary Knight, a project organizer and president of Carmack Car Capitol, an inaugural sponsor of the Thunder Ride Event.

"It's going to be a very big labor of love for everyone involved," Gutterridge said, adding the project will also be an opportunity to show how the community can come together and raise awareness about a need and money for a cause.

Anyone who is interested in helping is invited to attend an organizational meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the conference room at NAPA Auto and Truck Parts, 303 N. Gilbert St., Danville.

The truck will be on display.

Donations for the project can be sent to Midwest Veterans Association Inc., P.O. Box 238, Bismarck, IL 61814.

For more information, contact Gutterridge at sgutterridge@gmail.com or Knight at garyknight@carmackcars.com or 443-6803.

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