Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Touching Tribute to a Fallen Hero

This Thursday I was in Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. I attended the awards banquet that evening. It was your usual trade show banquet. What completely stole the show however was the unveiling of The Colton Camaro. On September 1, 2004, Gary Anderson the President of SoffSeal, Inc, and his wife were watching the Evening News with Dan Rather. That night Their Fallen Hero's series featured the story of Chief Warrant Officer Lawrence (Shane) Colton of the Army's 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas. The Feature told how Chief Warrant Officer Colton lost his life in Iraq on April 11th, 2004 when his Apache helicopter was shot down west of Baghdad while protecting a fuel convoy, killing him and his fellow crewmember. Shane Colton left behind his wife Inge` and their eleven year old son Lance.

The story moved Mr. Anderson to action when it mentioned how CWO Colton and his then 11 year old son Lance had started building a 1968 Camaro before he was deployed to
Iraq. The news reported that with his father’s passing, Lance now wanted to finish the car in his father’s honor.

Mr. Anderson called Corky Coker, Chairman of the SEMA Board of Directors and president of Coker Tires and was given the full support of the association. Mr. Anderson's wife then contacted CBS to ask for permission to speak with Mrs. Colton and Lance to offer their help in building the car. Mrs. Colton was overwhelmed and could not understand why complete strangers would want to do something like this for her and her son. Mr. Anderson explained that CWO Colton had given his life for his country and it was just the right thing to do. After some conversation, she Okayed the project with a promise from Mr. Anderson to involve Lance as much as possible.

Dozens of companies donated parts to the project; hundreds of people contributed their time and money. Team Camaro raised awareness and donations with a dedicated page on their website. The car was built using the drawings of Lance's father.

The project culminated this Thursday when the car was unveiled at the SEMA Banquet. When Mrs. Colton and Lance came on stage the crowed erupted in applause. She said a few words in remembrance of her husband and gave a very heartfelt and moving thank you to everyone involved in the project. When asked if he would like to say anything Lance replied: "My dad died for a great cause. He did not die in vein." When asked if the car met his fathers specifications. He said "As long as it doesn't catch on fire when it starts up its good".

At that moment there were no political parties. We were all just proud to be Americans who felt privileged to be present at such a moving event, Mournful for the
Colton's loss and Chief Warrant Officer Colton’s sacrifice.

Notes:Team Camaro is still taking donations to raise money for Lance’s college fund.
I should have pictures of the finished car up on the site early next week.

The Mudville Gazzette and Brainster have links to this post.

A special Thank you to LaShawn Barber for linking to me and welcoming me to the blogosphere.

Michelle Malkin is supporting the Valour IT Project.

Small Town Veteran is supporting the Valour IT Project.

The following folks have open trackbacks today! the political Teen Stop the ACLU Mudville Gazette Something and Half of Something Big Dogs Weblog My Conservative Cat and Whizbangblog!
Mac Stansbury. Don Surber

Stuck on Stupid has a story about a mother who lost her home to Katrina and her son to the war.

La Shawn Barber has a very nice post for veterans day with her thoughts as well as links to lots of other bloggers. Stop The ACLU has lots of open trackbacks for Veterans Day. A great veterans day tribute on Tinkerty Tonk. Michelle Malkin has lots of links to Veterans Day posts. Other posts on Veterans Day can be found at Iowa Voice, Outside The Beltway,

Thanks to euohoric Reality for Open Trackback Sunday


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