More than two dozen East Texas volunteers are ministering to the spirit of a man through an effort they call Project Compassion. Piece by piece and bolt by bolt, the volunteers at the Kilgore College Paint and Body Shop are involved in a classic car labor of love.
"The focus at first was a 1976 camaro, but we're building more than a camaro," said Kilgore College Auto Body Technology Program Director Terry Brewer. They're restoring the camaro, complete with a 391 small block engine, for Tom Wills, 44 who has A-L-S, or Lou Gehrigs Disease.
"Tom came to me and wanted me to repair his 1976 camaro," said Brewer. "The lord worked on my heart , and no way I was going to take this man's money."
"Amazing, it's not about the car, it's about reaching people for Christ," said Wills. Wills, a former racecar driver, has a passion for classic cars, but this effort is more than a car.
"I love them," said Willis. "I love all of them."
"You spend a little time with Tom Wills, and you understand why people want to be working for him and helping him out," said Brewer. They hope that this car and their fellowship will lift the spirit of their friend, and the spirits of those who hear their story.
"A lot of hard work , a lot of hot work, but doesn't seem like a whole lot of work at all for the cause," said Willis' friend Jody Gooch. The volunteers are building the camaro from donated parts and money and estimate when finished, the vehicle will be worth around $15,000 to $17,000. They expect to present the finished classic to Wills by mid July.