Regardless of your political beliefs, it is difficult to criticize the sacrifices made by American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines for their country. Millions of Americans serve in the all-volunteer force for up to a year or more at a time, frequently putting themselves in danger in hostile foreign places. It is a difficult job, and they deserve our respect and gratitude. Thankfully, there are individuals that truly honor these troops. Consider the Classic Glass Corvette Club of Marietta, Georgia, which partially restored Sgt. 1st Class Adam Troxel’s 1980 Corvette while he was stationed in Kuwait for the majority of 2011.
In front of 150 people, including 65 members of the club who brought their own ‘Vettes, Troxel was presented with the updated automobile in the showroom of Day’s Chevrolet in Marietta. Adam’s wife Holly approached her friend and club member Scott Oliver about how best to spend Adam’s $6,000 re-enlistment bonus, unbeknownst to SFC Troxel, who had asked Holly to take care of the brakes while he was away. Scott presented the club with the notion of caring for a soldier, and the club embraced it, jumping into action and utilizing their ties within the Corvette world.
Calvin Cruce, a member of the club, stated, “We jumped on it.” “It was something that we wanted. We simply grabbed up the ball and ran with it. It worked out extraordinarily well for us and for him. Through the contacts of club members and the overall generosity of the Corvette community, we were able to perform a primarily cosmetic exterior and interior restoration.”
In early 2011, Troxel exchanged a Bronco for a Corvette with the intention of restoring its condition, but a nine-month deployment to Kuwait put those intentions on hold. The Corvette spent much time at the home of Carl and Toni Etter, founder members of the Classic Glass group, while he was abroad. Carl’s garage, where he has restored multiple Corvettes, is well-equipped for the task. Calvin Cruce, a club member, stated that with Carl Etter, “We had a lot of experience, all of the necessary tools, and everything else we needed to assemble the car. Without him, it would have been impossible to complete the task.” Members of the club did much more than just replace the brake pads; they nearly overhauled the complete braking system with new pads, rotors, calipers, and lines.
One club member remarked that the interior “looked like a pack of wolves had been let wild in there” before the renovation. The most significant aspect of the restoration was repainting it. Collision Pro, based in Marietta, volunteered to paint the vehicle after being contacted by one of our club’s members. They have a reputation for refurbishing Corvettes. They understand what they are doing. They spent many hours fixing and repainting the bodywork. We could not have accomplished our objectives without Collision Pro. They offered us an absurdly low price, but they wanted to participate in the project. They were excellent.” They chose the Corvette Torch Red of the 2000 model year for the paint job. In addition to benefiting a deserving soldier, the club also benefited from the effort, despite the hard labor and long hours involved. Cruce stated, “We did it because we wanted to.” “It was an act of devotion. I will say that the entire Corvette community with which we interacted stood up and went above and beyond. Without a doubt, we had a great time because we bonded as a group while doing it.
Seeing Adam’s reaction when he first saw the car was definitely worth the countless hours of labor we invested. I can think of at least a dozen individuals who spent countless hours working on the car. Some of them had a mechanical aptitude, but they had never restored a Corvette before, so it was an educational experience for them. It was very enjoyable. It was enjoyable. It was arduous labor. It was occasionally annoying. But the finished result was worth every minute, every scraped knuckle, and every obstacle we encountered.” Many components, supplies, and services were provided for free or at steep discounts. Cruce stated, “I have to commend the Corvette community as a whole for standing up and doing what was necessary to help us make this happen.” “I’ve always maintained that cars bring people together, but the people you meet in the Corvette community are truly exceptional.