By T. Anthony Bell, Fort Lee Public Affairs OfficeSeptember 10, 2008
Fort Lee, Va. (Sept. 10, 2008) -- Hundreds of thousands of viewers nationwide will have the opportunity to see a Fort Lee Soldier get a vehicle makeover.
Spc. Josh Grant, assigned to the post's Warrior Transition Unit, had his model year 2004 pickup truck refurbished courtesy of the nationally syndicated TV show, "NASCAR Angels."
The truck was unveiled and presented to Grant and his Family Sept. 4 during a taping of the show outside the WTU barracks area.
"Awesome," was the word Grant used as his formerly mechanically unsound, dented and dinged vehicle was unveiled in front of a small but vocal audience at the WTU barracks area. The new incarnation sported a snazzy new paint job and other improvements.
"I can't say thank you enough," remarked the Chesapeake native and avid race fan afterwards. "For them to come out here and do this ... I mean look at it, it's not the same truck - by no means."
The show's sponsors transformed Grant's truck into something he didn't recognize.
The dusty beige was turned into gleaming midnight blue, the dents were gone, a new exhaust system roared above the crowd noise and shiny new rims adorned brand new tires.
Despite his confidence in the job the show would do, his wife Krystal said her husband was anxious and nervous before the big moment.
"He was afraid that it would be an odd color, like purple or something like that," she smiled, noting the show's producers consulted her several times during the course of the two-week makeover performed in Colonial Heights.
"NASCAR Angels" is a reality TV show that seeks to repair or refurbish cars of people who have dedicated themselves to serving others.
Grant had served his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom last year and earned the Purple Heart. Since then, he has been assigned to the WTU, first in Germany and now at Fort Lee.
Grant and his Family had also taken in a fellow Soldier whose house was damaged by fire. During the taping, about 100 people came out to be a part of the program. Grant and his Family members, to include his wife and their two children, mother and stepfather, looked on as two military vehicles led the refurbished truck into the parking lot.
When the vehicle was finally revealed, Grant gasped and the crowd applauded and cheered.
"It was awesome, unbelievable," he said. "It didn't look like my truck."
Former NASCAR championship driver Rusty Wallace and Shannon Wiseman, the show's hosts, orchestrated the unveiling.
Wallace said military members like Grant deserve special recognition.
"I'm just a big advocate to doing what we can for the U.S. Army, doing what we can for all of the Armed Forces," he said. "I'm real proud to be here today."
Current NASCAR driver Robby Gordon was also on hand and presented Grant and his Family with pit passes for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race held at Richmond International Raceway last weekend.
Capt. David Payne, WTU commander, said it couldn't have happened to a better Soldier.
"He deserves this," he said. "He works hard, he wants to stay in the Army, he wants to make it a career and he is exactly what the WTU was set up for."
Improvements to Grant's truck were estimated to be about $20,000. It also included a new toolbox for the bed of the truck (one that replaced his old one) and other improvements.
The show will air Oct. 18, 4:30 a.m., on Richmond's WWBT. It is also scheduled for Oct. 26, 8 a.m., on the Hallmark Channel.