Car show to commemorate John Dolliver

First annual event to take place this weekend in Red Deer

This weekend friends, family and members of the community will gather at the first annual John Dolliver Memorial Truck/Car Show in memory of John Dolliver who passed away last Canada Day in a car accident.

It was around Christmastime when John’s parents, Tammy and Scott were trying to think of some different ways they could give back to the community to honour their son’s memory.

Their efforts of giving back began around Thanksgiving when they adopted a family and did so at Christmas too. After that came the John Dolliver Memorial Scholarship Fund through Lindsay Thurber High School, the school John had just graduated from before his accident.

The scholarship was originally set at $500 but has since grown into thousands of dollars, because of the community’s out-pour of support.

The purpose of the scholarship was to keep their son’s memory going as he had a passion for mechanics and wished to pursue that after school.

“Because he didn’t get a chance to do that, we wanted to help out students financially whether it was purchasing tools, helping with some courses – paying for anything they needed to further their education. Or a lot of them are apprentices so they just may need a new tool box or they may have an old vehicle that maybe needs four tires so they can travel to work safely,” said Tammy.

The scholarship will now go to a student who is graduating and who has a passion for mechanics.

“We wanted them to have compassion in their everyday life. We wanted them to be a compassionate person, we wanted them to be kind and caring. Basically they lived their life and made decisions how our son lived his.”

The candidate was selected last week and Tammy got the chance to meet with him recently. And now a car show will be added to the list in John’s memory.

Tammy’s husband, who belongs to a truck group called True North Rams talked to them about their idea of doing a show and shine.

“It’s just exploded,” said Tammy.

The importance of the event stemmed from John’s passion for mechanics and vehicles.

When he originally got his licence his parents helped him buy a dependable truck, but they woke up one day and sitting in the driveway was a different truck that they haven’t seen before. It turned out he had traded the truck for an older one.

He later ended up having an accident in it and it was later written off.

“So he found this ‘93 Dodge truck. It was his dream truck. It’s what he always wanted. Well the poor thing, it was so rusted and the sides would flap when you drove up the road, but he just loved it.”

And so he and his father were getting ready to restore it and had just started purchasing parts last June.

In his memory his father and friends got together to restore the truck, and later businesses and members of the community donated money and parts towards it to help get it finished.

John’s dad later took the truck to car shows and truck shows, and soon after that, it was made into more of a memorial truck with John’s picture placed on the back tailgate.

And Tammy said the restoration became a healing process for John’s friends.

“ I know it was a big healing for my husband because he’s not one to talk about it or express his feelings, but with having John’s friends there and restoring the truck, it was like a healing journey for all of them.”

The memorial truck will be at this weekend’s show, along with many other trucks, cars and motorcycles from around the community. Another group they belong to called Alberta Large Cars, consisting of 18 wheelers all across the province, will also be present. They have organized a convoy that will be meeting at Mudders Car Wash on Saturday at around 8 a.m.

“We’ve had a little bit of out of pocket expense but not nearly what we would have if we had to pay the price, so I’d say probably about 98 per cent of everything we raised that day will be going directly to the scholarship,” she said.

The cost to register a vehicle is $10 and no pre-registration is required, as long as the 500-capacity lot can fit everyone.

Vendors will also be coming out to display some of their items, and their will be a kids activities space set up along with an outdoor barbecue.

“We don’t know a lot of people around here. We’re not from here and just to have so many people step up to help us, it’s just incredible.”

Tammy said it’s John’s kindness that she wants people to remember.

“He was like six feet tall and 200 some pounds but we always teased him and called him the gentle giant, because he had big hands and big feet. He was a big boy but he was just as kind as a kitten,” she said, adding he was quiet and loved his sister, Brianna, saying they were like best friends.

Up until three months ago, Tammy said she still has people messaging her stories about what her son did for them, including helping to change someone’s flat tire and helping pay for a lady and her son’s groceries, among many other kind gestures.

And it’s those actions of John that his family wants others to know and keep his memory alive.

“We just don’t want him forgotten.”

The event will be held in the CrossRoads Church Parking Lot June 24th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For those wishing to contribute to the scholarship, they can do so by making a cheque out to the Red Deer Public School Scholarship Fund for the John Dolliver Memorial to which the school will send out a receipt.