Muscle Cars

A Veteran And His Chevrolet Corvette

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By senior writer Mark Weisseg

I had just met the owner of this car a few short weeks ago. I instantly liked him and I was sure I knew why. He sat near me one night at our local car show but without his car. We chatted most of the evening and I eventually met his son Todd. Todd showed me some pictures of the cars they own as a Father and son team.

In the near future Jack brought his special car to the show. Its pictured here for you to look at just like the hundreds on Friday night.
So many people walked up to our group searching for the owner, we almost got tired of pointing in Jacks direction. He was in attendance with his long time partner Helen and yes his son Todd was there again.
The car has the steady eddy 327 engine and Jack gave me the story of how he obtained it. The short and edited version is he was the high bidder of a DEA sale of items collected at an arrest time. The car had been nearly taken apart by the Feds in a drug case but Jack bought the car sight unseen.
After he and Todd got it home they spent quality time repairing and rebuilding the beautiful Corvette.

Now, about that American Hero stuff. The Hero name gets thrown around today like penny candy. A baseball player has a great game, he is a hero. A team wins a super bowl and they are our heroes.

I sensed something unique about Jack. He was quiet but he was funny when he did speak. Finally, with Helen by his side I got my story. Jack is a Vietnam Veteran with a couple of silver stars for Valor and a Purple Heart. He told me he was a 19 year kid walking the streets of nearby Scottsdale PA and suddenly within a few months he was up up to his knees in the rice patties a world a way.
I won’t get into all the details but at one point he was shot in the shoulder and arm and another time took fragments in his legs. Did that give him a ticket home? Nope? He was bandaged up and sent back out to fight. And fight he did until it was finally his turn to come home. He went straight to work at the Edgar Thompson Works near Braddock Pa for the next 34 years.
A steel mill that stands today and is still pumping out the best products. In the summer it was like working in hell. It was so hot in the summer and in the winter the building was ice cold. Even though the blast furnaces were glowing red hot the doors were open to let the train and truck traffic in and out of the mighty plant along the river. Now retired and living with the effects of agent orange, the wounds and the nightmares of what he saw and did for his country few ever thanked him for his service.

For those of us that never fought hand to hand we will never know the horror of war. A simple thank you does not seem like it’s enough but it’s a start. Now, even after all these years later the government that promises on TV to take care of our veterans has been toying with this American Hero now for years just for some simple health benefits. But my friend , Jack L. King does not complain. He has been treated poorly over the years but still maintains his love for his country. The fact he drives a American Icon, the Chevrolet Corvette, must show you how deep his love for country goes. The nightmares continue as does the reminders of the bullets and fragments his body has taken. Yes, it was a long time ago but for this author I shall never forget. You see, one of my own has put his hand on the bible and will serve our country too.I fly our flag 24/7 in front of my house as well.

I will see my friend Jack this Friday night and no I will not ask him anymore questions about his service. It’s still hard for him to “go back there” but I will ask him about his beloved 65 Corvette and how much joy it has brought into his life. Please, thank a veteran and if possible, take one to your local car show. You will get more from the experience than you ever imagined.

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A Veteran And His Chevrolet Corvette, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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