Lebanon shop restores classic truck for grandfather with ALS before he dies

restored truck
Posted at 6:35 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 11:36:25-04

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A grandfather called for help to complete a project. It was something that couldn't be more important to him and the matter was urgent. It's a story about the precious time we have with the people most important to us.

Tracy Parsons is always on the lookout for a worthy opponent in chess.

"You gettin' pretty good!" he smiled, playing a game with 11-year-old grandson Corbin Smith. "I see some thinking going on in that head."

"Ever since he was a one-year-old, he's been my best buddy," Tracy said. "When he was three, I think it was, I thought it'd be great for him to learn how to play chess. He took to it very well."

"He'd teach me how to play," Corbin remembered. "He'd teach me new moves every morning."

Corbin has never beaten his granddad.

"Nuh uh," he said. "I've gotten close, but I haven't done it."

"The past couple weeks, he's pushed me to play a game, and I've kinda pushed him off cause I'm afraid he's gonna beat me!" Tracy added.

The truth is, it's gotten harder for Tracy to play ever since his diagnosis in 2020.

"It's ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis," he said. "I've lost the ability to walk. Losing my hands — it's hard to talk about."

Two of Tracy's brothers have died from ALS, and he doesn't know how long he has. It's been hard for Corbin.

"I was scared," he said.

Tracy has some work he wants to see get done.

"It's a 1973 Ford F-100," Tracy said.

Years ago, Tracy bought the truck with the plan of restoring it and giving it to Corbin when he turned 16.

"When Corbin gets his license, I'm not going to be here," Tracy said. "I'm not gonna be here to see that. I'd like to be able to see him and his face and his reaction to the truck before I die. That's what I'd like to see."

"I can tell he's putting all of his power into it," Corbin said.

Shortly after a NewsChannel 5 story on Tracy and Corbin in May, the staff at VZ Customs heard about the truck.

"It was just one of those things that we felt led that we had to do," said Seth Penhollow of VZ Customs.

The staff restored the truck. A crowd of dozens of friends and family members gathered at Tracy's home to watch Corbin's truck be revealed.

"I love you, buddy," said Tracy.

"I love you too," Corbin answered, hugging his grandfather.

"Go sit in this truck."

"Thank you, Paw Paw," Corbin said.