Baltimore Local 24 member Larry Tiller searched for months for a truck suitable for himself and a new service dog. He found it while leafing through the November 2015 edition of The Electrical Worker.
"When I saw that orange pickup, I just kind of said, ‘That’s for me,’ ” said Tiller, a retiree who lives in Cape Coral, Florida. “Plus, what a wonderful way to help an IBEW brother. That really struck me.”
Tiller purchased the 1952 Chevy 3100 for $20,000 from Merle Munger, a retired member of Portland, Oregon, Local 48. Munger had renovated it and promised to donate sale proceeds to the Local 48 fund that assists members in need. The truck will be shipped more than 3,000 miles from the Pacific Northwest to Tiller’s home in southwest Florida.
|Retired Baltimore Local 24 member Larry Tiller gets around on a Harley Davidson Trike. Tiller is a disabled veteran with serious leg injuries and riding a traditional motorcycle is close to impossible.
The project took Munger six years and more than $44,000. But he has no complaints.
“It’s gratifying to me to the way it’s turned out,” he said.
That’s due in part because it will help another IBEW member in need.
Tiller is a Vietnam veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. He is the commander of the Disabled Americans Veterans chapter in Cape Coral.
He’s unable to walk without crutches because of a motorcycle accident nearly 20 years ago that caused nerve damage. He especially has trouble using his right leg, so unlike most people, he has to use his left foot to tap the brakes and push on the accelerator when driving.
The renovated 3100 will allow him to do just that, he said. It has an automatic transmission and it doesn’t have a console in the middle of the front seat, unlike many modern trucks. That gives him more room to slide over and use his left leg.
Tiller also is scheduled to welcome a new service dog at the end of November, a golden retriever named Sandford. The 3100 should provide plenty of room for his new companion, too. Even better is that the truck is painted orange, his favorite color. He rides around on a black Harley Davidson trike, often wearing an orange shirt.
“This is for me and my dog,” he said of the truck.
Clif Davis, an international representative in business development who is a fellow member of Local 48, has nearly 40 years of experience in selling classic cars and assisted him in the selling process.
|The 1952 Chevy 3100 pickup truck that Larry Tiller recently purchased for $20,000 from fellow IBEW retiree Merle Munger. The truck soon will be shipped from Portland, Oregon to Tiller’s home in southwestern Florida.
“For everyone, I think it was a good experience,” Davis said. “[Tiller] got a good truck at good value. If anyone lost, it was Merle because of all the time he put into it. But he’s such a good guy. He doesn’t look at it that way at all.”
Indeed, Munger says he’s pleased that Local 48’s fund got such a huge boost. It had never had more than $7,000 in it previously.
“The local has been really good to me over the years,” Munger said before listing the truck. “I am more than happy to do it.”
Munger also has restored two classic cars for his grandsons, but he has no plans to take on another old vehicle. He plans to devote more time to other hobbies, especially reading.
“Several people came up and made a comment to me about how nice the truck looked and what a nice thing I did,” he said. “I really enjoyed that. It worked out pretty well.”
Tiller, 70, said he learned about the truck just after the death of his mother on Nov. 5.
“With this truck coming,” he said, “it has lifted my spirits tremendously.”