PAOLA — While the old cars could not speak, their owners shared some stories about bringing them back to life and honoring loved ones in the process.

Applause and cheers broke out as Slacker from 101.1 the Fox, Terry “Car Santa” Franz and Alex Stanton of Cars 4 Heroes and Chris Schroeder representing show organizers presented a Honda Accord to Air Force Veteran Evan Michael of Paola during the 17th annual Paola Heartland Car Show on Park Square on Saturday, June 8.

There were plenty of tears as well as Michael hugged Slacker, Franz and Stanton.

Michael, a 12-year veteran who served two tours in combat, was on his way to a Veteran Affairs appointment when he received the call from Slacker about the car.

“This is more than I ever could have expected,” Michael said. “Terry called me and interviewed me about it, and Slacker called while he was on the air.”

Michael had pictures taken with Slacker, Franz, Stanton and Schroeder. He then posed for pictures by the car with his wife Cari and daughters Siriah and Kailey.

“Slacker called in the morning and I was driving in rush hour traffic on our way to the VA,” Cari said. “We were both in tears. This means the world to him.”

Ben Minden of Paola paid tribute to his late grandfather, bringing his old 1955 Chevy Cameo pickup truck back to life, showcasing it for the event in his hometown.

He brought it to the show last year, but it was still being restored. It ran, but there were a lot of details requiring attention.

“It was the first time the truck had moved in 37 years,” Minden said.

The truck sat outside Doug Minden’s Body Shop in Paola for decades.

“Grandpa had that truck forever,” Minden said. “He finally gave it away 11 years ago.”

Ben Minden found the truck two and a half years ago and brought it back to life and to the Minden family.

It was a labor of love, Minden said.

“Nothing on that truck is factory except the sheet metal,” he said. “It is all custom fabricated right here in Paola. It is a showpiece now. I know grandpa would like what we have done to it.

“It has been all over the country,” Minden said. “We took it to California and back. We did some off-roading with it there.”

Minden also had the honor of driving his grandfather’s truck as the pace car at Lucas Oil Speedway on race night in Wheatland, Mo.

The Paola Heartland Car Show featured 285 cars from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.

Dave Ryan showed off his 1923 Ford Model T. The show featured a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster owned by Steve and Tess Tomlinson.

Ron Cole brought smiles to a lot of faces with his 1931 Model A. He is from Smithville, Mo. Cole was able to hang out with his brother Larry, who lives in Paola.

There was a 1937 Rat Rod owned by Clayton Woody.

There was a Harvey Brothers 1940 Chevrolet dump truck on the Paola Park Square for the show. Ron Schroeder brought a 1948 Chevrolet Suburban.

Gail Charlotte Ellis had a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air on display. A red 1959 Chevrolet El Camino owned by Kurt Coruthers was one of the showstoppers.

Ron Lister showed off a 1965 Oldsmobile station wagon. Larry Harris had his 1966 VW bug on display.

Tracy and Charlotte Modlin brought a 1972 Corvette that has been in the Lake Garnett Revived Grand Prix. There also was a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am, just like the one Burt Reynolds drove in Smokey and the Bandit.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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