By Marjorie Nesin
---- — A collaborative volunteer effort created what is sure to be one the Horribles Parade’s most thrilling floats and will live on after the parade as a functional police vehicle.
Sean Nolan and the guys over at Extreme Truck and Auto on Kondelin Road took on a project rehabilitating a Humvee the city’s police department had inherited from the military. He and his group of free masons donated their time on a voluntary basis to tune up the vehicle, which will carry some of Gloucester’s veterans in the parade, and completely repaint and decal its exterior.
“It came right down to crunch time,” Nolan said Tuesday. “Since Friday we’ve been working non stop to get it done.”
The cruiser is marked with the words “Community committed” and displays Gloucester’s police logos along with other details donated by K&D Designs and painted by Joe Brancaleone. Police typically use the Humvees in snow emergencies or other heavy weather situations.
“I’ve got to thank these guys,” Campanello said of those who worked on the vehicle. “We wanted to do something to the Humvee that made it both useful to the city and a way to pay honor to our veterans who’ve come back injured or worse.”
A decal on the hood of the now black and white truck pays tribute to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that assists veterans in recovering from the wounds of war and readjusting to civilian life.
Wounded Warriors has presented support to many of Gloucester’s veterans who regard it highly, including Austin Dorr, a Sargent Major who fought combat in Korea in 1951 and was awarded a Purple Heart. He will ride in the Humvee during the parade, along with other Gloucester veterans.
Holly Fleming, a retired US Army Sargent injured in Iraq in 2010 who will ride along too, said she benefited greatly from the support of the Wounded Warrior Project during a one year stay in Georgia’s Fort Gordon. Doctors there treated her spinal and head injuries, and taught her to walk without assistance and how to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the short term memory loss she suffered after the head injury.
Now she volunteers at Gloucester’s Veterans Administration.
“One mission ended and now it’s another mission to help veterans coming home,” Fleming said.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.