Zionsville American Legion Post 79 Needs Our Help!
The American Legion Post 79 in Zionsville has orchestrated a fundraiser on the GoFundMe site to raise $8,000 to completely restore the community’s beloved fire truck, and if we’d like to see it participate in our upcoming Fall Festival and Parade this fall, the Legion will need the assistance from the community with its fundraising efforts, as well as help with spreading the word.
Faded and Worn but Not Forgotten
You’ve seen this beautiful example of 20th-century engineering and local public safety history in our Fall Festival Parade and other community parades and celebrations throughout Boone County, as well as neighboring communities such as Brownsburg and Carmel. This 1955 fire truck came off the assembly line as an International Fire Truck “Pumper,” bound for Brown Township in Mooresville, Indiana. During its service, the fire truck was converted to a regular fire truck and served various communities, making countless runs, saving lives and structures before being decommissioned and retiring to its home at the American Legion Post 79 in Zionsville.
You may have noticed that the old fire truck is not at its usual post out in the front lawn of the Legion. It is currently being housed at Riley Bros. in Lebanon. Joe and Gary Riley have generously agreed to help with the physical restoration of the antique fire truck.
Restoring an Important Artifact and Community Treasure
I spoke with Legionnaire and Zionsville American Legion Post 79 historian William “Bill” Bell who collaborated with Bonnie Klingler—a 50-year-plus member of Post 79—on the origin of the fire truck. Bell spoke on the current fundraising efforts and status of the fire truck. Bell also shared that Zionsville American Legion Post 79’s commander Bart Colvin made the official request for the restoration project, and fellow Legion officer Tom Wothke started the GoFundMe page in hopes of garnering support from the local community.
The Zionsville American Legion Post 79 has raised $1,450 at the time of publishing on the GoFundMe page.
“The fire truck has fallen into disrepair, and I was asked over a year ago by our [post] commander if I would help with effort to get the truck restored,” Bell shared. “In the process, I found Joe and Gary Riley who restore antique tractors and were willing to do the restoration work. They are super people who have invested a lot themselves beyond the money that has been collected so far. That’s just how generous they are with their investment and time. That’s a side effect of the friendships and what they [Riley Bros.] think of the American Legion.”
Bell, a 30-year Zionsville resident, is a past post commander of the Zionsville American Legion Post 79 and explained that the pandemic has obstructed collecting the necessary funds to make the fire truck safe and roadworthy in time for the Fall Festival Parade.
“We’ve had a couple of pancake breakfasts, and those have helped us some,” Bell stated. “The Zionsville Lions Club has offered up a nice amount, and several other individuals have anted up. But it just so happens that going out asking for money during COVID-19 has been pretty difficult, if you can appreciate that.”
Please join us in honoring a beloved tradition and exhibition of history by helping the Zionsville American Legion Post 79 raise the necessary funds to complete the restoration of the fire truck, and let’s get it ready to join the other units in our community’s most treasured Fall Festival Parade!
Please help us spread the word among our neighbors and local businesses who may interested in making a financial contribution—no matter how big or small! Visit GoFundMe.com and enter “Zionsville American Legion Historical Fire Truck” in the search to make an online donation.
Also, be sure to follow the Zionsville American Legion Post 79 Facebook page for updates and information about the organization. You can also visit its website at post79zionsville.com.