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Work starts to make local teen’s long-delayed dream come true

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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ROBINSON, Texas (KWTX) - Work has started on the restoration of a classic car owned by a local teenager with cancer who once dreamed of working with his father to restore a Chevrolet Impala like the 1967 model monster hunters Sam and Dean Winchester drive in the CW show “Supernatural.”

Getting the car to this point has been a long road for 19-year-old Robinson resident Joseph Wilcox.

On July 1, 2013, while Joseph and his father, Justin Wilcox of Oglesby, were fishing on Lake Fork in Northeast Texas, another boat T-boned theirs.

Joseph survived.

His father didn’t.

“He threw Joseph down on the floor and lay on top of him. The propeller of the other boat went right on top of his father. It also hit Joseph and took part of his ear and left him with major brain damage. Just a really traumatic thing,” Joseph’s mom Becca Kinerd said.

The dream of restoring the vintage Impala came to a grinding halt when his father died.

Joseph faced a second tragedy when a few years later in 2017 he was diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare bone and tissue cancer.

He underwent years of chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries involving the removal of pretty much everything below the skin on the right side of his face, including his right eye.

During one of the surgeries, a nerve was damaged, leaving Joseph without the ability to use one of his arms.

Despite everything he’s faced, Joseph never let go of that dream to restore the Impala.

He used money from odd jobs and the sale of his pickup truck to buy a 1968 model, but the car needed a lot of work that was going to cost a lot more money than he had to spend.

But thanks to the generosity of strangers, the work has officially begun.

“The car is in paint and body thanks to everyone that donated,” said Ray Rockett, owner of MoTech Services in Hewitt.

Ray and his wife Alli didn’t know Joseph but read about his story on social media and were moved to help after learning Joseph’s dream of restoring the car he purchased by selling his pickup truck following his father’s death had hit a speed bump.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation first tried but for one reason or another the shop contacted to do the work never got the work done.

Ray and Allie were determined to make it happen.

They helped raise the $2,500 needed to get the paint and body work.

They watched in joy when days ago the car was towed from their shop to Bear Metal Customs where owner Pete Felan has offered to do all the labor at no cost.

“It’s super exciting. I think it’s more exciting for Joseph and Becca because they thought the work would get done so long ago and then that didn’t happen. I think it’s really exciting for them to finally see it making progress. It’s slow progress but it’s still something,” Alli said.

Alli says the car’s paint and body work is a lot of work and could take months, depending on the weather.

While Joseph waits, the couple plans to work tirelessly to get the rest of the parts donated or money raised to finish the job.

The “Team Joseph” GoFundMe page has raised nearly $4,000, but that won’t be nearly enough.

“Although we do not yet have a detailed list of parts, when we got the car back basically everything under the hood, all the guts, even the drive shaft were missing and never recovered,” Team Joseph said on their Facebook page.

“We are having to start at square one (or somewhere long before square 1 I guess). As the car sits now the transmission is rebuilt and ready. As far as the motor it’s pretty much just a bare long block with the intake and that’s it. Literally everything else is missing and needed. Most, but not all, of the body was eventually recovered.”

Ray and Alli are pleading with the public to help anyway that you can.

“Keep sharing, keep donating,” Ray said. “We still have a long road ahead of us with the car. Don’t forget: Team Joseph.”

TEAM JOSEPH FACEBOOK PAGE

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