DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) About two months ago, a Duchesne County woman came up with a plan to secretly fix her husband’s 1968 Ford Bronco.
It would be an incredible gift and a big surprise for a Utah man. A 49-year-old 4X4 rock crawler needed home help.
The owner Dewayne Calkins did not have the resources to make it happen, but the community rallied around his story and the project quickly became a labor of live.
As mechanics handle the final adjustments, family members make sure this 1968 Ford is polished to perfection.
Now it is finished. And it’s in better working condition than ever… And it looks better than it ever. The 49-year-old vehicle also has new tires and wheels. Seat covers and amazing accessories all donated or purchased with donations.
The best part: the Ford Bronco’s owner has no idea his old and beat up 4X4 looks like new. It was going to be a big surprise.
Dewayne is a husband, a father, a friend and has been a foster dad to 22 kids in Duchesne.
“He is bringing these kids into the home and raising them with the same values that we were raised with. And it is really cool to see that – that he is passing that on to another generation that can maybe learn from him.”
“He didn’t have the money to give us material things – and he always told us the richest people are those who have memories with family.”
Missy Lovett, Dewayne’s daughter, says one of those memories is rock crawling when the Bronco was running.
“It’s been a process since I was a kid We have seen this Bronco year after year – oh, next year I will get this and the next year I will get that. You know… Every year – it never got done,” said Lovett.
Fixing up the Bronco became a bigger challenge when Dewayne began a second bout with cancer.
His wife Robin then came up with the idea to secretly ask for help and see if the community would come together and fix up the beloved Bronco.
“It’s been amazing to me how many people would step in and help me,” said Robin.
One of the biggest helpers was S & J Automotive in Pleasant Grove. Among other fixes mechanic and owner Scott Thompson rebuilt the engine of the 4X4.
Then Bad Boys Auto Body in Vernal took the Bronco and made it look better than it did when it rolled off the line in 1968.
“We reached out to some amazing people who were willing to donate their time and money – parts – everything and they worked together and in five weeks they got it done,” said Lovett.
O’Reilly’s in Roosevelt and two dozen others helped out as well.
Dewayne was surprised, impressed and baffled.
“The garage door opened up and I saw my Bronco. And I thought – wait a minute. I was in a daze. It was surreal,” said Dewayne.
He looked at every part of the Bronco trying to take it all in. He was introduced to the mechanics, the painters and others involved in the project.
He thanked his wife as he tried to make sense of being the recipient of this labor of love.
” I can’t believe it. I can’t believe there are good people like that,” said Dewayne.
Then he rolled out of the garage with his wife riding shotgun – to take his new and improved Bronco on a test ride… And when he returned… he reflected on what this truly means to him and expressed his heart felt gratitude.
“I feel unworthy of it, but on the other hand we are going to enjoy this – I will have a great time with my kids. And I don’t know if I will be here next year, but I am going to enjoy it this year while we go it, said Dewayne.
” I just appreciate it. Thank you to all – that is from the bottom of my heart.”
Since the big surprise, Dewayne has had a chance to take the Bronco out for a ride.
See how it drives in the web extra below. And check out the list of sponsors and those who helped make this possible below as well.
S&J Auto in Pleasant Grove, Bad Boys Auto Body & Paint in Vernal, O’Reily’s in Roosevelt, Six States in Orem, Superwinch, PSC Performance Steering Warehouse, Beers Harley Davidson in Vernal, Gateway Sinclair in Vernal, A & W Pharmacy, Al’ Foodtown, Central Machine, Kohl’s, Cowan’s Cafe, Freedom Realty, Unitah Machine, Unitah Basin Spine and Disc, Scott & Ginger McKinnon, The Edge, 1-800 RADIATOR, Advance Auto Parts, Basin Wide Dumpster, Ivie Auto & Marine, Arches Fabricators, Crest Contracting, Andrus Mobile Welding etc