I've been working on this since 2002. I bought my first Firebird in 2001 and began sketching paint job concepts when I brainstormed the idea to put the fallen World Trade Center Twin Towers on my Formula Firebird's twin hood scoops. At the time I was a Federal Police Officer stationed at the Atomic Clock facility in Boulder, Colorado, yeah, right after 9/11 we were a little busy! It was on a night shift at about 3AM when I was driving past my Firebird parked in the Employee lot and was looking at the way the hood scoops were set into the hood when the image of the fallen Twin Towers flashed into my head. The wheels started turning and I started sketching later in my spare time. It grew to include the Pentagon behind the Towers/scoops, then the American flag down the fenders, and the face of the American Bald Eagle on the front end. I began using white-out on photocopies to come up with multiple "blank slates" that grew into the finalized design.
I stopped at a local hobby shop and bought a scale model kit of a 1977 Firebird and built and painted it in the design. It came to life in 3D and looking at the model and holding it next to the real car was astounding! It became clear to me that I had created something that was real, tangible, and exciting! America is a car culture, especially for classic muscle cars.
I began networking within the Law Enforcement community and got great kudos and offers of support from individual officers but could not get any sponsors, corporate interest, or attention of groups like the Fraternal Order of Police, FOP, or any such entities. So I've continued on my own in obscurity still pursuing this. My now ex-wife hated the idea, thinking it childish and immature. She ended up demanding I sell the Firebird after the birth of our daughter in 2004 to pay for hospital bills. It came with the agreement that I could get another Firebird once our finances settled down. In December 2005 I joined the US Army Reserves at 37 years old! I then shipped out in Jan.'06 to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for Boot Camp and AIT, Advanced Individual Training. I was to complete my training in June of 2006.
My wife left me 3 weeks before I came home!! It sucks but we're divorced now. Upon returning to a broken, empty home and the emotional and psychological devastation left behind by this "Dear John" situation, I eventually began looking for another Firebird. My ex-wife hated the first car, so yes, I got even by scraping and saving and buying a replacement project car to continue my dream. I located a 1977 Firebird on CraigsList.com for $400.00! I went and looked at it and it was another rusted project car but knew right away it was perfect. I bought it in Oct.'06 and picked up were I left off.
This has grown signifigantly in the last year and a half to include front page articles with pictures in two local newspapers in Northern Colorado and finding a contact at the Army Public Affairs Office across the street from the Pentagon, thanks again "Sarge". I also picked up support at a local High School/VoTech type program that the Lead Instructor is aiding me in doing mechanical work with me. I go in and work on it myself in whatever free time I have between my work schedule and my Army duties. I am the "common man/little man" doing this for the "common man/little man."
In my career as a Law Enforcement and Security professional and now also as a US Soldier, I have taken multiple oaths to "serve and protect" this Country, it's People, and the ideals that myself and thousands of public safety and miltary personnel sacrifice their lives for eveyday! This car is an extension of these values of representing the good in the American populance and the strength, power, and pride of Patriotism! Every person I share this with is in awe and full of raw emotion to include crying in front of me by touching a nerve. This has the potential to touch many people from all walks of life and I want it that way. The media and our politicians seem to think the American public is sheep willing to follow and not think. I want this car to wake people up and stir emotions! As I drive it across country later upon completion, with a procession of State Troopers, American Legion and Blue Knights motorcycle riders, I want this to be the kind of trip with people on the roadsides and overpasses waving American flags and cheering, not for me but what this stands for!!
The Freedom Firebird Project is a project being done by Americans, for America! For the families who lost someone on the horrors of September 11,2001, the families of Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, National Guard and Reservists who've suffered the loss of a loveone and the stress of family seperation/extended deployments, and the Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS workers and contributing Security professionals, who selflessly work nonstop protecting our communities, this car is for you.
This car is my passion to stand up and say,"I'm Proud To Be An American!! Where at least I know I'm FREE! And I won't forget the men who DIED who gave that Right to me! And I'll gladly stand up, next to you, and defend her til today! 'Cause there ain't no doubt, I love this land.....GOD BLESS THE USA!!"
I AM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER!
SURRENDER IS NOT AN OPTION!
LEST WE FORGET 09/11/2001
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
(Also look for this at www.cardomain.com
under 1977 Pontiac Firebirds/Freedom Firebird Project.)
PFC. R. Davis
US Army Reserves
244th Engineer Battalion
This is what the current car looked like when I bought it for $400.00! The white with a spoiler is after some TLC and white primer, spayed in my driveway!