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Martinsburg man turns truck into veteran tribute

Journal photo by Danyel VanReenen From left, Patty and Chuck Timbrook are pictured with the veteran tribute truck, Blackout, at their home in Martinsburg.
Journal photo by Danyel VanReenen
From left, Patty and Chuck Timbrook are pictured with the veteran tribute truck, Blackout, at their home in Martinsburg.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Three years ago when Chuck Timbrook’s father passed away, he knew he wanted to do something in honor of his father and other military veterans he knew.

Timbrook, who has been in the commercial trucking industry for over 30 years, had already planned to turn his truck into a low-rider. However, he decided to transform the truck into a tribute to veterans and active military members instead.

“We were sitting on the couch one night, and he told me he was going to turn his truck into a veteran tribute,” Patty Timbrook, his wife, said. “I thought it was a great idea!”

Timbrook named his truck “Blackout” for prisoners of war and missing in action soldiers. The black and white American flags, as well as the matte black color of the truck, symbolize the sacrifices veterans have made for America, Timbrook said.

“There’s nothing colorful about death and sacrifice,” Timbrook said. “The black and white colors are to honor those sacrifices and bring attention to them.”

Timbrook’s truck has garnered a lot of local attention over the years. Blackout has been to parades all across the four-state area as well as events at the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg.

“The VA surprised us at the Mother’s Day 2016 event,” Timbrook said. “Before the event, they presented us with the Veteran’s Seal of Support Award. It means a lot to me. Not many have the opportunity to receive that honor.”

Veterans show up to events to see the truck and talk to Timbrook.

“I believe I’ve met more veterans than Donald Trump,” Timbrook said. “There’s so much respect for the military. It’s almost not about the truck anymore. It’s about what it stands for, and that’s gotten a lot of attention.”

In September, Timbrook had a series of mini heart attacks, requiring him to be off work for about eight months. When word got out, Timbrook said the support he received was shocking.

“I never knew there was that many people we had reached and connected with, “Timbrook said. “So many people came forward with support; it was unreal. That’s when I first noticed how big this thing had really gotten.”

The popularity of Timbrook’s truck continues to grow, he said, as he travels to more events throughout the area.

Just last week, Blackout attended an event in Hagerstown raising money to give sick kids a good Christmas. Santa Clause and Elmo made an appearance as well, and the two characters paid honor to the fallen by kneeling in front of the black and white American flag on the truck.

“I just want our veterans to know that they’re never forgotten,” Timbrook said. “That’s what this whole thing is about. Whether they are prisoners of war, missing in action, active duty or retired, we honor their sacrifice.”

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Staff writer Danyel VanReenen can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 131 or on Twitter @DVanReenenJN.

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