By Shawn Frank
Eight years ago, the Iowa British Car Club brought back to life a 1965 Triumph TR-4A that had sat dormant for more than 40 years. There were many parts missing but with some help from amazing friends, volunteers, and donations from Moss Motors, the TR gradually came together, bolt by bolt. They named it Johnny and gave it a mission.
The car has British Racing Green paint and a glovebox full of Sharpies. It’s not a fancy car, and not everything works quite right, but these things aren’t important. The mission is simple: give people rides in a cool car who wouldn’t normally get that chance—concentrating on children and adults affected by cancer. In essence, the Iowa car club is bringing a smile and a hug, in the form of a car, to people who really needed it.
This isn’t about raising money or awareness, as those things are handled by people far more qualified than us—and we aren’t very good at it anyway. What Johnny does best is to give people a way to express themselves. Anywhere on the car they can write the name of a loved one. Some names represent those that are fighting cancer, others are those who have passed on. Gazing upon the hundreds of names on every inch of this car, they know that they aren’t alone.
We have seen so many beautiful moments when Johnny has been the conduit for a moment of love and hope and happiness. People thank us for bringing Johnny to an awareness event or a fund-raising charity, and we always thank them for inviting us. Not just to be courteous or kind, but because we walk out of every event with a warmth in our hearts, new friends, and a restored faith in the truly important things in life.
We also hope that Johnny inspires other enthusiasts to get their cars out on missions to bring smiles to faces. It doesn’t need to be a big charity event, sometimes just making one person’s day has a bigger impact than we’ll ever know. MM
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