Students in Mesquite ISD’s auto technology and auto collision programs are paying tribute to a fallen MISD alumnus, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Dustin D. Vincent. The 2005 Mesquite High graduate was killed while serving in Iraq in 2011.
The students in the two automotive departments have taken on the challenge to raise funds and complete the rebuild of a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro that Vincent had purchased prior to enlisting. He had hopes of one day personally rebuilding it.
“He and his dad were working on the car. His family can’t afford to complete the work so we decided this would be a good way to honor him,” said Monti Turner, Mesquite ISD auto technology teacher. “The students are getting some good info while doing this project, since we are basically rebuilding the car from the ground up.”
As part of the project, the students must raise funds and donations to complete the work needed on the vehicle.
“We have gotten the body back onto the frame and are currently finishing the rebuild on the engine,” Turner said. “It should be back in the car within the next week or so.”
Turner said that as part of the body work, students have to completely replace the trunk, hood and the front and rear bumpers.
“We have gotten some stuff donated, such as the paint, but we still have the complete interior to do,” Turner said.
As part of the final paint job, a purple heart will be painted on the car as a lasting tribute to Vincent.
“My father was a WWII veteran, and although I didn’t personally go into the military, I have a lot of family that did,” Turner said.
To raise funds to complete the rest of the project, the students are hosting a car show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Mesquite High School, 300 E. Davis St. There is a $15 registration fee per vehicle to enter the show. The first 20 cars to enter will receive dash plaques.
The show will have 24 first-place, 24 best-of-class, one best of show and one best car club winner.
“Anything people are willing to bring and enter we will find a place for,” Turner said. “All of the funds go toward the project.”