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Group of Heritage Academy students restoring Legion tank

July 14, 2011|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • Heritage Academy students Tristan Prejean, Zach Muller, Bryce Nigh and Jared Hamrick have taken on the task of restoring the military tank at the American Legion Post 211 in Funkstown.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN — It's been 25 years since the World War II-era tank on the grounds of American Legion Post 211 in Funkstown was last painted.

The restoration project has "been on the back burner," with no completion date in sight.

But thanks to several Heritage Academy students, the project will be completed this summer.

The idea for the project emerged when Jared Hamrick, Zach Muller and Tristan Prejean participated in the legion's speech competition in February. Seven students from Heritage and Smithsburg High School participated, with all participants receiving $50, while the top three finishers won higher awards.

Several of the Heritage students wanted to find a way to  show their appreciation to the legion. Heritage students are also required to complete 75 hours of community service every year, so Tristan's mother — Lisa Tedrick Prejean, a Lifestyle columnist for The Herald-Mail — asked if the legion had any projects students could work on.

Dave Unger, head of the legion's house committee, suggested the tank restoration.

"When they first mentioned it, I thought it was pretty cool to be able to work on the tank," said Tristan, 16.

Other students working on the tank include Bryce Nigh and Collin Poyle.

The project involves sanding the corroded surface of the tank with an electric belt sander and a circular brush sander, with steel brushes and sandpaper used for smaller areas.

Once the sanding is completed, the tank will be repainted in the same olive drab color, with new decals applied.

"It's really neat to work on a piece of history," said Zach Muller, 16.

Patrick "Pat" Ham, third vice commander at Post 211, is working with the students on the project. They get together one morning a week to work, with the legion providing lunch for the boys after they're finished.

They hope to finish in five to six weeks. Ham said the tank has been on the legion's property since 1986 or 1987.

"I think it's an excellent program, the community service they do. I'm glad that they chose to help us out," Ham said.

"I think it's a good thing to do. It's for the community," said Bryce Nigh, 15.

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