WILMINGTON, Del. (WTXF) - Spending three years in the U.S. Army including one in Vietnam half a century ago 72-year-old Ron Elliot has never forgotten the men he served with.
The “war room” inside his Wilmington home filled with war memorabilia is proof of this.
“We lost a lot of guys over there and I wasn't going to leave them,” he said.
It is because of this that Elliott has spent the past 50 years carrying the remains of deceased veterans to their final resting place.
“I transport the veterans and the caskets to the cemetery. Free of charge. Families try to pay me and I won’t take it,” he said.
His mission takes him all over the region. He put half a million miles on a 1984 Ford extended cab pick-up.
Nowadays he uses a 2000 F-150 adorned with the names of Delaware veterans and reminders of POWs and those missing in action. For those who see it pass by, the truck is a rolling statement of remembrance.
“They know it’s a veteran being buried, not just a normal person. And that’s my way of getting out there without saying a word,” said Elliot.
After a couple of hundred burial runs, this truck has seen better days.
The paint is flaking, the driver’s seat is falling apart.
The body is rusting out and the rear bed is out of alignment.
Elliot used to do his own repairs on the car but he is not able to anymore. The financial burden has become too much.
Still, he keeps driving up to 100 runs each year. Making sure deceased veterans get the sendoff they deserve.
“I’ll keep it going as long as I can do it,” he said. “Can’t fail ‘em. Hahaha!”