By CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — A local antique truck show brought together old friends and helped support research for something that strikes close to home for everyone, directly or indirectly: cancer.
The second annual American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) Southeast Iowa chapter's antique truck show filled Jimmy Jones Shelter in Ottumwa Park Saturday afternoon with truck enthusiasts, despite bursts of rain throughout the day.
Dick Boyd, of Ottumwa and president of the southeast Iowa chapter, said the majority of those involved in the chapter have been friends for years, and the antique truck show is a way to reconnect and form new friendships.
"It's about the preservation of antique trucks," said Eldon Jaeger, of Worthington. "A lot of people have an interest in their history. And it's about enjoyment. Everyone gets together to see people they haven't seen in awhile and you become friends with the new people you meet. There's a lot of history here and a lot of things you can't find anymore.
"Anybody can buy a new truck, but not everyone can have an old truck."
While the mass-produced trucks today can be found anywhere and everywhere, some trucks at the antique show are either unique or one of only a few left from their time, including Boyd's 1953 International.
Jaeger and his wife also organize the Midwest Pride in Your Ride truck and tractor show in Earlville every year, which ropes in trucks from all eras, he said. He brought a bright purple 2000 Peterbilt semi to the show on Saturday, which holds a deeper meaning for his family and for Boyd.
Jaeger's daughter, Brenda Heiderschiedt, died two years ago at the age of 32 after living with cancer for nearly 15 years.
"If someone before hadn't done something for cancer, she never would have lived that long," he said. "So I had an opportunity to do this truck and raffle off tickets. You never know how many people this will really help."
Heiderschiedt had four different types of cancer, he said, including lymphoma and uterine and ovarian cancer.
"Everyone has been involved with cancer," Boyd said.
Boyd's wife, Lauretta, died 19 years ago at the age of 50. She lived for eight years with cancer.
"If it didn't happen to someone in your family, it's happened to a close friend," Jaeger said.
Proceeds from Jaeger's truck show and the raffle tickets sold at $10 a piece for the purple truck all benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Ticket sales began on May 3, and one year later at the Midwest Pride in Your Ride show, one ticket will be drawn for the winner of the truck (or $18,000 prize, whichever the winner prefers).
After this year's show, Jaeger's show was able to donate more than $47,000 to the Dyersville Area Relay for Life.
The truck was painted purple to honor cancer survivors, Jaeger said. And 29 different cancer ribbons grace the side of the cab. For more information, go to www.midwestprideinyourride.org.
— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.