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Decatur hot rod show celebrates veterans, first responders

Herald & Review - 9/11/2017

Sept. 11--DECATUR -- Honoring the sacrifice of veterans is a generational thing.

The Cruise 11 to Remember 9/11 hosted in Decatur'sCentral Park on Sunday was set up nine years ago to celebrate veterans and all first responders by marking the attacks that scarred a nation on Sept 11, 2001.

Now, as Decatur prepares to honor 23-year-old sailor Logan Palmer at his funeral today, we are reminded of the young people willing to give their lives in defense of their nation.

"Sacrifice goes from one generation to the next," said Ayn Owens, the Cruise 11 organizer. "It's important to always remember that."

With live entertainment from Decatur band Electric Rae, food and a car and motorcycle show that drew dozens of entries, Owens also wanted remembrance to be about embracing the pursuit of happiness.

Sunday's activities wrapped up with the BG Nevitt Memorial Yellow Ribbon Cruise, in which show participants, with fluttering yellow ribbons, headed out on an 11-mile drive.

It's named in memory of the Rev. BG Nevitt, the pastor of gtChurch, and a passionate supporter of veterans, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2013, the year he was going to be the keynote speaker at Cruise 11.

Nevitt also loved American horsepower and there's no doubt he would have gotten a kick out of the gleaming machines lined up around the park for judging on Sunday. One major head-turner was a 1935 Ford five window coupe street rod owned by Lee Blair of Decatur. Painted in two-tone "challenger plum crazy purple" and "Porsche raspberry pink," it was a dazzling automotive confection powered by a massive supercharged engine.

"I've always wanted one of these since I was 14 years old," said Blair, who is now 79. He said hot rods and street rods was a hobby created by returning GIs after World War II, and an event featuring them is a nice way to pay tribute to all veterans. "That is why I like this event so much," he added.

Money raised from Cruise 11 supports the Help 4 Heroes Fund which meets all kinds of veterans' needs. Post-9/11 Army veteran Shawn Taylor, 35, loves gardening and the fund recently bought him a motorized tiller. He plans to use it to help create community gardens all over Decatur. "Help 4 Heroes is a wonderful thing," he said.

treid@herald-review.com|(217) 421-7977


(c)2017 the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.)

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