Granite Mountain Hotshots memorial truck nearing completion

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by Amanda Goodman

azfamily.com

Posted on June 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 21 at 3:23 PM

PHOENIX -- It has been almost a year since the Yarnell Hill Fire claimed the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, and one local auto shop is restoring a 1957 truck in honor of those men.

"We ran a schedule on it that we would work every Friday. We shut the shop down, and everybody in the shop would work on it," said Phillip Beck, owner of Street Rods by Auto Art. 

It is a true labor of love for his crew.

The 1957 GMC truck belonged to Jesse Steed, the captain of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew.

He was among the 19 men who perished in last year's Yarnell Hill Fire.

The 36-year-old father of two had started to restore the truck just before the fire.

"He was so passionate about it when he was alive, and he was so interested and committed to getting it finished that we felt like it was the least we could do in his honor and in his memory was to finish it for him," said his wife, Desiree Steed.

Jesse Steed's family hand-picked Beck and his team to finish what he had started.

They wanted to dedicate the project to not only Steed but the rest of the fallen men.

"We've tried to incorporate as many small details as we can that drive us back to the 19 firefighters," Beck said.

During a phone interview with 3TV, Desiree Steed said she hoped the truck could serve as a tribute and a reminder to be fire-wise and cognizant of the dangers firefighters face on the job, so a tragedy like this does not happen again.

Every inch of the truck has been customized from the engine to the paint job, instrument gauges, and even the upholstery.

"This material is Nomex. It is the same color and same material that the firefighters uniforms are made out of," Beck said.

All 19 firefighters' names are painted on the outside of the truck as well as embroidered on the seat back.

The crew has been working on the truck since last August.

Most of the parts and components have been donated and so has a lot of the work.

"This is a very expensive project, and we need a lot of donations to help cover the expense," said Beck.

Once complete, the truck will be used in parades and as a public service vehicle.

Its first stop will be in Prescott's July 4 parade, but eventually the plan is to pass the truck down to Steed's son.

"My son used to work on the truck with my husband," Desiree Steed said. "He'd be out there with little bits of sandpaper and things. Of course, he was only 4 years old so he wasn't a whole lot of help I'm sure.

"It was something that he and my husband would do together so someday when he's older and, you know, proven to be responsible, then this truck will eventually kind of be that continued legacy for him."

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