When An Old Truck Teaches New Tricks

Screen Shot 2013-01-12 at 2.45.12 PMEvery Tuesday night, in a rented garage space on Caroline Street, a group of teenagers gather to gain valuable experience in the art of automobile restoration.

The club, the latest in a whole bunch of youth clubs being run by Ray’s Place, is the brainchild of Corey Finkelstein, and has benefited from some serious generosity on the part of Mulmur resident Ted Morgan.

“Ted has always been tuned into what we’re doing at Ray’s Place,” said Finkelstein, whose wife Laurie Copeland is the current chair of the youth resource centre’s board. “I was talking to him last year about this idea I had, to get kids interested in auto mechanics involved in a club, and right away, he said, ‘you can have my truck.’”

Morgan’s truck is not just any truck, either. It’s a 1951 Ford F1 pickup with Alberta plates, purchased in 1994 from McCleary’s Antiques in Avening. For 18 years, Morgan used the truck for its intended purpose, making dump runs and short trips into town, but he always planned on restoring it. Now, the kids of Ray’s Place will have a chance to do the work.

“The nice thing about this truck is that there’s nothing too major that needs to be done,” said Finkelstein. “The original paint was bright red, but I might let the kids decide what colour we’ll paint it. There’s some rust work, and the fenders need some repair, and we’ll put some new fabric on the interior. But it’s all stuff that we can handle.”

So far, the club has six members – Jackson Metheral, Brayden Hill, Duncan Miller, Dylan Durham, Kelsey Lammle and Nick Dymond. Dymond, who likes woodworking, plans to refinish the planks that make up the bottom of the truck bed. Metheral joined because he wants to be a mechanic someday. And Hill, who plans to join the military, figured this kind of experience would do him well if he heads into the engineering or tactical deployment fields.

As with all Ray’s Place endeavours, the purpose of the club is twofold – on the one hand, it’s about giving the kids experience that might help them out in the future; on the other, it’s simply about giving them a chance to interract with adults and get them thinking about their post-secondary education.

To that end, Finkelstein is hoping to find some volunteer mentors, experts in such fields as body work and auto mechanics who might be willing to join the club on the odd Thursday night.

He’s also looking for donations – the club is operating with a near-zero budget. So far, they’ve scraped together a basic set of shop tools and purchased some snazzy coveralls for all of the members, but any donations of money or tools would go a long way toward helping them finish their project.

If all goes well, the finished truck will be adorned with a Ray’s Place decal and become the work truck for this summer’s Rent-A-Youth director. With any future cars the club works on, the plan is to sell them to raise money for future Ray’s Place programming.

“So far, we’re having a lot of fun,” said Finkelstein. “The kids are really into it.”

If you are between the ages of 13 and 18 and would like to join the club, or if you’re older and have some tools or expertise you’d like to donate to the cause, feel free to drop into Ray’s Place or call Finkelstein at 705-520-0110.

Reprinted from the Creemore Echo.