The American spirit in a vintage truck

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:01

    MONROE-Jesse Hedges knows how an engine runs. He used to race stock cars, but he put that hobby aside when his family grew. He then restored a tractor, but as he said, "I wanted something I could drive." The Town of Monroe employee found that something three years ago in a backyard in Chester, and plunked down $1,000 for a 1941 Dodge WC (Weapons Carrier) 12. Hedges spent the next eight months rebuilding the World War II transportation staple and its straight V-6 230 Chrysler engine. There's a company in the mid-West, Vintage Power Wagon, that can track down the parts needed for vehicles decades past the assembly line. True to its era, the WC12 has no air conditioner, no CD player, no radio. But it has something that people like Hedges put into their vehicles with their sweat and persistence: Pride. That's part of the reason Hedges and his three sons and daughter roll out the WC12 for the Memorial Day parade. Pride in what they accomplished in making the vehicle road-ready. Pride in sharing it with the crowds that line the parade route. And thankful for the servicemen who may have ridden in this weapons carrier in defense of the country. "I saw the potential for what it could be," Hedges said, "not what it was."