1939 Ford Truck Lifted into a Senior Center Courtyard

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1939 Ford Truck in the Air

Antique Ford truck provides a trip down memory lane for residents after decades of fire department service.

The 1939 Ford pickup shown here spent more than 20 years serving with the North Dakota Park River Fire Department. But last month, it was lifted by a crane into the courtyard of the Sterling Commons senior living facility in Victorville, California. Once on the ground in the enclosed area, it was carefully pushed under the cover of a metal gazebo, where it will now serve as a reminder of the good ol’ days to the residents.

According to the Victorville Daily Press, this antique Ford is the latest addition to the network of senior homes operated by Koelsch Communities, all of which have a vintage car, truck, or motorcycle on display.

“Having a classic vehicle at each one of our Koelsch Communities was the idea of our founder Emmett Koelsch,” said Tracy Stephens, Transportation Director for Koelsch Communities. “Our first lift was done by helicopter about 20 years ago.”

Why an Antique Truck?

Koelsch Communities has found that for some older folks, modern technology is bothersome and confusing, causing them to reminisce of simpler days. At the same time, as many people age, their short-term memory fades, making items and memories from the past more familiar and comforting. With that in mind, Koelsch includes historical-type items in their facilities that will help residents fondly look back at the past.

1939 Ford Truck Being Lifted

To bring the past to the present, Koelsch facilities have classic artwork on display and older music playing. But for many Americans currently living in senior care facilities, driving was a major part of their early lives. This truck, and the other antique vehicles at their senior homes around the country, allow residents to sit in the vehicle and recall memories of good times in vehicles from their younger years.

The Lift

The courtyard of the Sterling Commons senior living facility in Victorville is enclosed, so there is no way to drive a vehicle into the gazebo where this 1939 Ford truck now resides. This means that they have to lift it over the building and set it down inside of the walls. The 3,200-pound truck was carefully cradled by the crane team and lifted over the roof, swaying a bit in the wind before being set down on the other side.

1939 Ford Truck Being Watched

The team then had to use the crane to lift part of the gazebo so that the truck could be pushed into place. Members of the community, employees of the facility and residents all watched as the truck floated over the wall, with people ready-and-waiting to climb in for a ride down memory lane.

Images: Victorville Daily Press

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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