Photos: Mo. FD paints truck in stars and stripes to honor veterans

The Central County Fire & Rescue vehicle's decor was inspired by fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz


By Leila Merrill

SAINT PETERS, Mo. — Central County Fire & Rescue’s new truck has a stars and stripes design in honor of veterans.

The department will host a push-in ceremony Friday, according to a news release.

The department wanted to honor Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, who was killed in action on Aug. 26, 2021 in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Central County Fire & Rescue’s new truck features more than a U.S. flag theme — it honors military veterans. (Photo/Central County Fire & Rescue)
The truck decor was inspired by the loss of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz. (Photo/Central County Fire & Rescue)
The truck will be on view during a push-in ceremony Friday. (Photo/Central County Fire & Rescue)
The community supports veterans, according to Jason Meinershagen, CCFR deputy chief and public information officer. (Photo/Central County Fire & Rescue)
An anonymous donor helped the department afford the special paint job. (Photo/Central County Fire & Rescue)
The truck will be a moving tribute to U.S. veterans. (Photo/Central County Fire & Rescue)

Construction had been underway for three new trucks for the department when the idea for the design struck.

“Our entire community was in shock and mourning the death of a local hero, and we knew we wanted to do something to honor him,” said Jason Meinershagen, CCFR deputy chief and public information officer. “Our fire district is very supportive of our veterans, so we quickly knew it was not enough to dedicate a fire truck to just one man, as tragic as his death was. We wanted to do something that touched the heart of every patriot in our community,” says Meinershagen.

The extra cost of the design has been covered by an anonymous donor, not taxpayer funds.

“Every fire truck tells a story, and this one certainly stands out,” Meinershagen said. “This truck is a rolling tribute to every American who has the distinguished honor of calling themselves an American veteran, and we are proud to present this fire truck to our community, where it will continue to live out its story for many years.”

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