For the last 40 years, Ron Elliott has been using a special pick-up truck to transport the bodies of dead Vietnam veterans to their final resting places free of charge – so when his faithful automobile finally started to break down, the community stepped up to help.
Elliott, who is a Vietnam veteran himself, had been driving the same 2000 Ford F150 for about two decades. It was the second vehicle that he had used for his labor of love, and it had wracked up roughly 150,000 miles before it started to die.
The side of the truck was emblazoned with the names of Vietnam veterans from Delaware who lost their lives in combat.
Elliott has been using the specially-decorated trucks to transport the remains of his brothers in arms since the 1960s. Though he is based out of New Castle County, Delaware, he says that he has offered his free services to veterans and their families in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., and even Kentucky.
He guesses that he has made roughly 500 trips to cemeteries up and down the east coast.
“From losing so many brothers over there, I said ‘I’ve got to do something where they won’t be forgotten,’” Elliott told WDEL. “It’s not hard to me. I’m glad to do it for them.”
So when his truck started to show signs of wear and tear in August, he was worried that he would have to stop offering up his services.
Instead, community firefighters and veterans raised money to buy Elliott a lightly-used 2013 Ford truck that will soon be outfitted with modifications for carrying the veterans’ caskets and repainted to feature the names of the deceased veterans.
The truck was presented to Elliott earlier this week with the help of Mitchel Gauge, a retired Air Force veteran who led the fundraising effort.
“It’s all about Ron and what he does for veterans,” Gauge told WDEL. “Transporting deceased veterans at no cost to the cemeteries [or the veteran’s families] including Arlington Cemetery, and he’s been doing that for years. We just wanted him to keep that mission going.”
(WATCH the news coverage below)
Be Sure And Share This Heartwarming Story Of Kindness With Your Friends On Social Media – Photo by Ron’s Brigade GoFundMe