Fundraising campaign underway to help 93-year-old ex-fireman and WWII veteran restore his beloved old fire engine
A fund-raising campaign has been started to help a WWII veteran and former volunteer fireman restore the vintage fire engine he once used to save lives.
Józef Miehle and his fellow firemen of the Maków Podhalański fire brigade used the 1942 Dodge for decades.
The vehicle was called out over 500 times in its many years of stalwart service, attending fires, road accidents and even being used in funerals.
“Doczka”, as the vehicle was called, soon became a fixture and fitting of the small town in southern Poland.
“The Dodges served in WWII,” 93-year-old Miehle told the newspaper Fakt.
“A few years after the war they were withdrawn from army service and in 1956 they were sent to the fire brigade.
“One of them came to the Maków Podhalański Volunteer Fire Brigade where I was in command for over three decades.”
The American workhorse retired, along with Miehle, in the 1990s, but since then his fondness for the old vehicle has remained undimmed, and now he wants to restore it to its former glory.
The ex-fireman, who during the war served with the Home Army, said while the vehicle is rust free its engine and other systems need a complete overhaul in order to get them working properly.
“It also needs sandblasting as the vehicle has several layers of paint on it, and then it needs to be re-painted,” Miehle added.
The total cost of the restoration project is around PLN 30,000, but so far Miehle has only managed to raise PLN 4,000.
And looking to the future, the old man envisages one particular journey the Dodge could make, if he can get it restored.
“I would like her to take me on my last journey on earth,” he said. “That would be something.”
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