What started off as a request from a local radio station to build a model airplane for the late Sonny Eliot turned into a mission to honor veterans of all stripes for one Wixom man.
Sean Tracy uses any overtime money he earns from driving a truck to purchase models of airplanes, tanks, helicopters and others, for veterans free of charge through The Veterans Project.
“I find the (model) kit, build it, paint it,” Tracy said. “If I can personalize it (for the veteran), I will. Pilots used to name their airplanes, so I would try to find the decals or somehow make the decal to personalize the plane, tank, or whatever else it is.”
Tracy is currently in the process of building models for all of the World War II veterans at what he called “a pretty elite, high-scale retirement center in Novi.”
Although he has been building models “for as long as (he) can remember,” Tracy’s The Veterans Project first began about two years ago when WWJ Radio asked him to build a model of Eliot’s plane.
“I was contacted to build a model of the plane Sonny Eliot flew during World War II that he subsequently got shot down in,” Tracy said. “When I did that, that’s when this really took off. Just seeing his reaction when he first saw the plane when he walked into the room – it sounds kind of cliché, I guess, but it was like that was my calling, and I’ve been doing it ever since, building models for these guys.”
At least 100 such models have been made for veterans.
“If you wore the uniform, you’re eligible,” Tracy said. “I’ve been focusing on World War II (veterans) strictly because of the fact that they are a dying breed, so to speak. If you were in Korea, Vietnam, or even if you were just in the military and never left the United States, it doesn’t matter. As long as you wore the uniform and served the country, you’re good to go.”
For more information on The Veterans Project, visit http://theveteransproject.wordpress.com or e-mail Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org.