Grant assists truck restoration


Photo by Paul Apfelbeck

Automotive teacher Josh Pittsenbarger (left) guides students Zelek McNeilley (in vehicle) and Lynn-Victor Lonewolf working on the flood-damaged truck.

The Galena automotive program is restoring a truck damaged in last year’s flood, thanks in part to a $100 grant from the Alaska Retired Educators Association.

The 1984 Toyota 4-Runner was found among the damaged vehicles behind the Galena water treatment plant, said Josh Pittsenbarger, the automotive technology teacher. He and his students plan to have the truck fully restored by May 2015.

Students went to the junked vehicles and found some tires, a Chevy engine, and a Toyota transmission for use in the rebuilding effort. The students will have to install a special adapter for the Chevy engine to work in the Toyota, part of which was paid for with the grant, said Mr. Pittsenbarger.

“The project of reclaiming and modifying a vehicle from a recent flood is indeed an educational exercise for the Automotive Shop program,” stated the award letter from the retired educators association. The association commended Mr. Pittsenbarger for “your creative approach to helping your students learn.”

The association has only asked the automotive program to provide documentation so it can promote other opportunity grant projects in the future.