Northbound I-5, north of Highway 165, down to 1 lane due to an overturned big rig

Local

Veterans find new home at old school

Monday, May 27, 2013

This old hangar at Chandler Airport is a busy place this Memorial Day holiday.

Veterans are joining in with other workers to repair and refurbish experimental aircraft and vintage cars.

Thomas Fillmore and his partners started Go Fast Garage Experimental Aircraft business and found some local vets were eager to lend a hand.

"We found a couple of vets that had moved into one of the retirement homes for disabled veterans and things, and they had limited income so we asked if they'd like to come down and start doing some work on some things. Started out with two we've had up to ten at a time out here, we try to give them a little extra money on the side, try to keep them fed, have little parties once in awhile."

Smitty Smith is one of those vets. He's used his lifetime of mechanical experience to help teach the other vets.

"I've been doing it around 40 years, the other guys just want to learn. It beats sitting around the building, getting out doing something with your hands. Keep busy, learn a trade, we enjoy each others company."

For Air Force veteran Michael Grimmer working here has been a step up.

"This has been a tremendous help for me I'm in transition right now, I have a background with electrical wiring in automotive and he's helped me transition into the operation he has going out here. It's been a tremendous help, keeps me busy keeps me focused and channeled I'm going back to school in August."

And as a vet, he's honored to be contributing on this Memorial Day.

" To acknowledge all of the American soldiers that have given their lives and given all for the freedom that we enjoy in this country."

The old hangar at Chandler Airfield dates from the 1930s.

It sat unused and empty for years. But now the company is paying rent to the city. Along with rebuilding planes and cars, they are helping to rebuild lives.

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holiday, local, gene haagenson
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