Corvette enthusiasts have long been known for their kindness and generosity.
Check out this great example of how friends and fellow enthusiasts combined forces to make a dying Marine’s Corvette dream come true.
The story opens with Mike Kimmons, a former Marine staff sergeant who had served two tours in Vietnam, finding out just three months ago that he had only months to live because of liver cancer.
What would we do if we knew our days were short? Well, Mike told some friends that he sure would like to restore his 1964 Corvette, which he had parked 25 years ago when the wiring started smoking under the hood.
Like many of us, the daily realities of life took precedent over fixing the Corvette, and it sat there through the years. A month after his diagnosis, Mike casually told friends that his short bucket list would include taking his wife, Nancy, for another ride in their red convertible Sting Ray.
Close friend Dave Rusk decided to help make that dream a reality. He immediately texted another friend, George Hoellen, who is president and part-owner of T.O. Haas Tire, and asked for his help. Hoellen quickly texted back: “I’m in … call me!”
That set the wheels in motion for a rapid – and secretive – restoration by workers at Haas, including Bob Tindle, who inspected the motor and soon had it running again!
Other updates include a new gas tank, new brake systems, two gallons of transmission fluid, and a new exhaust system, radiator, and turn signal switch.
Finally, the refurbished red ’64 Sting Ray was ready to “Help a Marine,” as Rusk had dubbed the secret operation.
“The project involved nearly $3,000 in parts and $6,000 in labor donated by T.O. Haas,” said Rusk.
In an emotional presentation at a “Help a Marine Jam” session (especially meaningful since Kimmons was a life-long guitarist), Mike was reunited with his classic Corvette as friends and family watched.
That was March 8. Just six days later, Kimmons passed away because of the rapidly spreading disease.
“Mike is gone but will never be forgotten,” Rusk said. “He was a true Marine.”
We salute the good folks who helped make a dying hero’s dream come true!