Instructor Says Students’ Previous Work Was Destroyed In Devastating Fire
April M. Fronick
As the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center works to recover from a devastating fire that claimed one entire building, an auto body/collision repair instructor is seeking help from the public to move his program forward.
“We lost most everything in the fire,” noted Denny Stewart, instructor at PLTC. “We have enough tools to get going so all we need now are projects. I have 30 kids who are dying to get back to work.”
Stewart pointed out that the students will not be able to do any projects that require frame or painting work.
“We lost our frame rack and paint booth. We’re hoping to have those pieces replaced by next year.”
The work will be done for free. Those interested in assisting with the program only need to purchase the materials the students will need to made necessary repairs.
Stewart noted the kids are eager to get back to work. Previously the classes had restored a 1927 Ford Roadster.
“We built it from scratch,” Stewart said. “I asked the fire fighters to keep their hoses on it. We’re hoping that it will be rebuild-able. It was a show car that we took to parades and the state fair. It was a real shame to lose it. Hopefully we’ll be able to restore it next year.”
Stewart said the students have already decided to rename the classic car “Phoenix” since it will rise from the ashes of the fire that destroyed the building and virtually all of its contents recently.
Auto body and collision repair is a dying vocation according to Stewart. He noted the program at Pike-Lincoln Technical Center has received a great deal of assistance over the years. In fact, tools and other products have been purchased for student use by a former co-worker of Stewart’s. Rich Evans, of the Speed Channel television show Car Warriors, has sent over $2,000 worth of materials and even made a personal appearance last year.
“He was really upset to hear about the fire. He really enjoyed being here and helping the kids. It was a great thing,” Stewart noted.
Those interested in providing a project for the students should contact Pike-Lincoln Technical Center at 573-485-2900.