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Area family asking all for help with the return of item

Monday, May 28, 2012

To the Editor:

During the past 14 years that Rob and I have managed Moore Funeral Home, there have been numerous instances of vandalism and theft.

I've never written about them and some have never been reported. However, this time, someone has gone too far.

Many people know that we have a fire engine parked behind the funeral home. It's a 1953 American LaFrance.

The City of Brazil purchased the engine in 1953 and it was in service here for more than 20 years.

Rob has many good memories of this engine, in addition to its many fire runs.

When he was a little boy, on Saturdays, his dad would often take him to the firestation to ring the engine's bell.

When he was in high school and the Brazil High School basketball and football team won an away game, they would often be met at the edge of Brazil, where the team would climb aboard and ride the engine into town.

And after the football team beat Wiley High School, the engine would be driven to the side of the high school, a ground ladder raised and team members (and sometimes, a cheerleader) would climb up the ladder to write the winning year on the side of the BHS smokestack.

Rob was so excited in 1981 when the city made the engine available for purchase.

He bought it while we were living in Zionsville.

His dream was to restore it to use in Brazil's parades and place it in antique fire engine competitions.

Even when we moved to California, he had it repainted, the chrome replated, and we would often travel to fire swap meets to buy needed parts.

Whenever we came home to Brazil, he would work on it and take our family and the neighborhood kids for rides.

After we moved back to Brazil, he was able to spend more time on this special restoration project.

He had the garage behind our house remodeled with bigger doors so it could be stored inside.

We were finally becoming closer to achieving our dream.

Then, the motor froze and had to be taken out of the chassis and rebuilt.

This turned into a long complicated project mainly because the parts and someone with the time and knowledge of how to work on an antique motor were hard to find.

While the motor was out, Rob worked to find a person to make the unique wiring loom needed and to have it rewired.

Unfortunately, when the motor was ready to be replaced, the process was delayed by circumstances beyond our control.

It couldn't be stored in our garage without being driven in.

The angle into the space was too small to use a wrecker.

And so, Rob was forced to cover it with a tarp and keep it behind the funeral home.

Recently, he noticed that the shape of the tarp had changed. When he investigated, he found that someone had climbed underneath the tarp, ripped out the wiring and stolen the large revolving red light with its chrome base off of the top of the fire engine.

This light was the original one that came with the engine and will be very difficult to replace.

This time, the dream has really been tarnished.

We are hoping that someone considered this a prank and the light is still in the area.

If you have it or know who does, please leave the light on our front porch and no questions will be asked.

We just want the light back.

If it's not returned and you have information that may lead to its recovery, please call the Brazil Police Department or call us at Moore Funeral Home.

Please help us achieve the dream.

Vanita Moore,

Brazil