Army Veteran Restores Combat Tanks to Preserve Military History

by Michael Freeman
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Plenty of organizations exist to honor those who served, but one Army veteran received a unique opportunity. His method of preserving and tributing military history involved restoring combat tanks.

Robert Bowyer received the chance to do so after a longtime Muskegon company sought a way to honor those who served in the military and to illustrate its history. RENK America, formerly called L-3 Combat Propulsion Systems, proudly displays two Patton tanks: an M47 and M48, MLive reported. Having been there for decades, the two tanks had seen better days. So, Bowyer took it upon himself to spruce them up.

“I just kept saying it would be cool to take these two pieces of history and clean them up, paint them and put them out front,” Bowyer said after noticing the tanks for years. “I wanted to show the employer and the community who we are and make us an identifiable place that when you drive by, you smile.”

Luckily, that chance came. Bowyer and the RENK America team hired a sandblaster and painter for the tanks last summer. Besides a couple of missteps involving paint, the project went swimmingly. Bowyer proudly debuted his work on January 25 this year, with the two tanks now sitting on the RENK America front lawn.

Being an Army veteran himself, Bowyer said projects like this resonate with him and he felt compelled to do it. “When I got out of the army, I went to college because it was the weakest point of my life and I kind of had this ignorance to the world,” Bowyer said. “Through my studies, I realized there was still this gap for our Vietnam veterans not feeling welcomed home, heard or like their stories are respected.”

Nonprofit Builds Village for Veterans with Tiny Homes

Robert Bowyer’s endeavor is one of many ways to show appreciation for veterans and proudly display our history. Another recent example came from a nonprofit that built a village of small homes for veterans in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center (VWHRC) created the veteran community to help end veteran homelessness, WMBF News shared. VWHRC’s director, Scott Dulebohn told the outlet it’s not just about helping, but giving them a second chance. “You see the smile back on their face and they carry their shoulders higher, and it just makes you feel good. It’s just amazing, so we’re going to do everything we can to get the veterans off the street here in Myrtle Beach.”

For four months now, Vietnam veteran Don Bowne worked with the organization to assist. Currently, his efforts helped VWHRC raise $110,000 for the project. Both parties hope to provide 50 homes to veterans within the next two years.

Dulebohn shared the area sadly has more than 300 homeless veterans. Hopefully, they hit their goal and more.

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