Triston Walsh, 16, is a sophomore at Belleville West High School in Illinois, and he still remembers his dad, Marine Sergeant Nick Walsh, who was killed in Iraq 12 years ago. One of his last adventures with his dad was a road trip from Colorado to California -- just the two of them -- in his dad's 1990 Ford Bronco. Since Nick's death, the Bronco sat idle in the garage, but Triston expected to inherit it someday. But last month it vanished. His mom, Julie told him it cost too much to fix and she sold it. He was furious and didn't speak to her for two weeks.
But she hadn't really sold the Bronco. Instead, she contacted Mertz Ford to ask the cost of restoration. The dealership towed it away, and sprang into action. Several automotive suppliers donated parts. Two Mertz technicians worked nights and weekends on the Bronco without pay. When it was restored, Triston's mom convinced him to visit Mertz Ford to look at "a better car." When they entered the showroom, they saw Nick Walsh's official military portrait displayed on an easel. A military color guard stood at attention near a vehicle covered by paper. When it was unwrapped, Triston saw his dad's Bronco, fully restored, better than new. Everyone cheered as he got in and started the engine, wiping away tears with his shirt sleeve. "I'm just really happy than I'm able to have a piece of my dad left with me," he said. Triston won't get his driver's license until February, but he already has the truck of his dreams.
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