High School Takes On Project To Honor Veterans

"We realized this is going to be a lot bigger pain in the butt than it looked to be"

While many attend parades or hang up flags to honor those who’ve served in the military, one local high school class is getting their hands dirty to help a Veteran’s group.

Chevy and Ford cars are what students at the Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls are used to working on.

But at the beginning of the school year, a new challenge arrived.

“After the first two weeks we realized this is going to be a lot bigger pain in the butt than it looked to be,” says senior Austin Grosz.

It’s a vehicle that looks like a train.

The Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses, a charity group led by veterans, will use the vehicle in events like parades.

But it has some engine problems, and hasn’t run in more than a decade.

“It has a GMC 6 cylinder 228 cubic inch engine in it, it’s different than a Chevy engine, there’s a few things different, we found out the hard way,” explains automotive teacher John McCarthy.

The VFW group dropped off the train at CTE after realizing they wouldn’t have enough funding to fix it up.

The students have had some kinds along the way.

“We initially thought we could remove the engine and the transmission but as time went on, it didn’t happen like that, we couldn’t take the boiler off,” says Mr. McCarthy.

“After about 6, 7 weeks of working, we decided to just tear apart the motor inside the train,” adds Grosz.

For Mr.  McCarthy, this project means a lot.

The New Zealand native is a Veteran himself, serving in the military back home.

He wants to expand his students’ skills, and teach them to honor service men and women at the same time.

“It’s important that the students understand the importance of history and what has happened.”

The Veterans group got to see the students’ progress.

The Chef De Fer says he’s happy to know the train will be chugging once again.

“We appreciate it,” says Preston Olson. “We hope that it’ll let people know that we’re in the area.”

Mr. McCarthy says the train will be done in the next 9 weeks.

Then the 40 and 8 crew will be able to show it off in parades and fairs.

Sturdevants Auto Parts has been supplying the class with the different parts needed to get their project done.