Classic, modern, restored and project cars and, lest we forget, one motorcycle were pulled out of their garages by personnel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District to participate in the "Wheels to Work" day, on October 19, 2018.
James (Jim) D. Frank, a security assistant at the district, worked with the Association of Corps Employees, ACE to hold the event with vehicles displayed in the north parking lot and a slice of pizza in tow.
The lunchtime event took off with fifteen different, very different, types of vehicles that were just as authentic as their owners.
Jim, a former Army Sgt.1st Class, is passionate about cars and he also knows a thing or two about classic vehicles. "I just thought it would be cool," he said. "I see a lot of cars people drive to work, and a bunch of car guys and gals can get together and talk cars. It's good to get to know new people and fire up a little "Esprit Dé Corps" for the Corps of Engineers. It's the old Sergeant coming out in me," Jim said.
Every vehicle has a story - just opening the door and sitting in the seat evokes the senses.
Jeff Bonafilla, a project assistant, brought in his heavenly silver blue 1966 Mustang Convertible that's been in his family for 29 years.
Civil engineer Bob Williams bought his 1953, fire engine red Dodge Power Wagon as a retirement present for himself and his dog. The truck was owned by a Pendleton Fire House at one time and is quite the conversation piece.
Environmental resource specialist Sandra (Sandy) Shelin's, little white Toyota Celica shuttled her into the original Corps of Engineers building on what once was the Walla Walla Air Base.
"My grandparents owned the car. When they found out that I was getting a job out here in Walla Walla, they drove from Virginia to Corvallis, Oregon, where I was attending Oregon State University, and I drove it up here and had a very memorable first day at work."
Sandy explained how a Ford pickup rammed into the passenger side of her vehicle and she spent the second half of her day at work trying to get it fixed. None-the-less Sandy and her Celica prevailed and the two have been road buddies for 40 years. With only four more years left before retirement Sandy plans to drive her car on her very last day of work.
For car enthusiast's like the fifteen corps employees that participated in the event, these cars are a more than just a passion. "They mean a lot. You have a certain feeling about a car that brings back memories of your childhood, junior high school, and high school days. It's fun to look back. Oh and of course talk about your car and brag a little on what you have done to it," Jim added.