Sen. Richard Burr visited the Career Academy and Technical School in Troutman to see the results of a lengthy project.

More than 10 years ago, Burr delivered parts and pieces of a 1935 pickup truck to the Surry County Community College auto tech program. The truck sat in Surry County for a while, and some “car people” in Iredell County got wind of it.

John Dodson of the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville contacted the automotive program at the Career Academy and Technical School in the Iredell-Statesville Schools to see if those members might be interested in using the truck as a teaching tool in their collision repair program.

Now-retired CATs automotive teachers Tony Cash and Martin Page rode to Surry County Community College one afternoon and brought the truck back to Troutman in cardboard boxes. Fast forward about eight years and include countless students from CATS, body fabrication by NASCAR Tech, and the project is finally finished.

Martin Page, who is now the chairman of the I-SS Board of Education, welcomed the opportunity to use the old truck as a teaching tool.

“It was a long process and a really unique educational experience for our students,” he said. “We used the truck for various instruction. When we were teaching brakes, we used it to learn about brakes. We used it to help students hone their paint-and-body skills. Over the years, we would get some parts and fix them up.”

Burr visited CATS several times over the years to check on the progress of his father-in-law’s old pickup and used the oppoertunity to talk with students about the value of a trade in the automotive industry. Burr paid for all the parts and was aware that getting to the finished product would be a slow process.

Larry Rogers, principal at CATS, says that it has been fun to watch the project progress over the years.

“When I arrived at CATS in 2011, this truck was on pallets and wasn’t even put together,” he said. I am extremely proud of our students and our teachers who were able to put this vehicle back together. They’ve done a good job. A lot of students have had their hands involved in making this project successful. We are happy that it is finished and that it can be returned to its owner.”

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