Family of Fallen Soldier Welcomes Home Restored Bronco
Bronco belonged to the father of two boys, who gave his life in Iraq over a decade earlier.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than to receive the news a loved one gave their life on the battlefield. Some will say that this is what they signed up for, but it makes it no less tragic when it happens.
Thus, it is a truly great thing when someone does something to honor the memory of the fallen, and especially for the family of the fallen. Waterloo, Illinois newspaper Republic-Times has one such story, involving a restored 1990 Bronco.
Mertz Ford of the St. Louis suburb of Milstadt, Illinois took on the task of restoring the Bronco belonging to U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Nicholas Walsh, who was killed at the age of 27 by a sniper in Fallujah, Iraq on May 26, 2007.
Following his death, the Bronco sat in the Walshs’ garage for years until it was sent off for restoration by his wife Julie, with help from the dealership, the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation, and local businesses, according to Columbia, Illinois newspaper Monroe County Independent.
The goal of the restoration: to give Walsh’s oldest son, Triston, a 16th birthday he’d never forget. Julie, Triston, and his younger brother Tanner arrived at Mertz Ford to a gathering of 100, where the Bronco busted through a brown paper wall to many cheers and tears.
“It just really warms [my] heart that everybody came here so I can give something special back to my boys,” Julie told the Republic-Times. “Their dad’s not here with them anymore, but hopefully this will give a little piece of him back to them.”
“I was just so overwhelmed, so surprised and so happy,” Triston added. He was only four at the time of his father’s death, and had dreamed of one day fixing up and driving his father’s Bronco. Now, he’ll have something to treasure for the rest of his days, all thanks to Mertz Ford and the local community.