Father finally sees truck restored he once dreamed of repairing with his daughter

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The story started with the dream of a father and daughter rebuilding a truck together. It suddenly turned into a tragedy when the little girl, five-year-old Kai-Lynn, died in a fire. Then the story evolved into a promise between two friends, to rebuild the truck in her memory. This is the final chapter in the story of Dixie the Truck.

Kai-Lynn

It took a truck ad and technical college to drive Dixie from a dream into reality. "I couldn't ask for anything better. The image of what I had and what me and Kai-Lynn talked about so many times."

The Chevy had been a sad reminder of a promise Michael Turner made to his step-daughter, Kai-Lynn.

"We wanted black and we wanted orange," said Turner, "going somewhere down the body with a race stripes or stripes going own the side."

The truck, Dixie, before restoration.

But after her death, the truck served as a reminder of a promise he just couldn't keep. So he sold the truck to Colin Theis.

That's when the community, and Richard Gravelle's auto collision repair class at Kansas City, Kansas Community College stepped in.

"We have never done a project like this, to benefit people," said the instructor on Sunday.

He added, "We did it because it was the right thing to do. It was in memory of a little girl that lost her life in a house fire."

Roughly 9 percent of the truck body had to be replaced, for a total cost of close to $20,000 dollars. LMC donated thousands of dollars in parts; Gravelle's KCKCC students donated the labor.

Turner looked over at the shiny black and orange truck, where he positioned Kai-Lynn's picture, and simply said, "she turned out amazing."

There is still a lot of mechanical work left for Dixie. But when that’s done, Theis said Dixie will be at car shows. And, Theis said, Turner is always welcome to drive Dixie.