FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Julie Nackos has driven by her son Kyle’s faded maroon Ford Ranger daily for years as a reminder of his life and death.
That conflict of memories and mourning will fade as soon her son’s pickup no longer sits idle. It will be resurrected with a tuneup, new tires and a windshield and shipped more than 6,000 miles (9,656 kilometers) from Windsor to West Africa.
There, the pickup loaded with laptops, other school supplies and clothing will serve a teacher with critical educational needs as well as provide transportation for his students.
“Kyle loved his truck, and I have mixed emotions of it being sent to West Africa,″ Julie said. “But he loved kids and he would be happy that it is going to support kids clear across the world.″
Kyle, 19, was killed Nov. 24, 2016, when a drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 25 near the Erie/Dacono exit crashed head on into the Subaru that he and 16-year-old Windsor High School sophomore Nash Rider were in while returning from a concert in Colorado Springs.
Kyle died at the scene. Rider was left with lifelong debilitating injuries.
The Dacono man who caused the crash pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and driving under the influence in 2017 and was sentenced to 37 years in prison.
On a recent Memorial Day, the idea of giving Kyle’s pickup a new purpose was born. Julie and Scott Nackos were sitting with friends Lara and Scott Holt at the Windsor holiday parade.
Lara, a Windsor Charter Academy teacher, was involved in a project for her National Honor Society group that included a teacher in Burkina Faso, West Africa, by the name of Harouna Zoungrana, the founder of College Prive Jeunesse Elohim. He was looking for a vehicle and school supplies for his school.
Lara began the project by looking at doing a fundraiser for a vehicle. Then came the Nackos’ idea of donating Kyle’s pickup. Still, there was the expense of shipping a pickup loaded with school supplies from Windsor to West Africa. Lara discovered the cost for customs and shipping would be between $5,000 and $7,000.
But community support has given the project hope: Holt is hoping a mechanic will offer to tune up the 2003 pickup; Les Schwab Tires is donating tires; a friend will provide a new windshield; and students, teachers, Windsor residents and businesses have donated school supplies, clothing and money.
“To send a truck, this piece of Kyle, to help students in West Africa felt amazing,″ Lara said. “Joy is the word that comes to mind when I think of our friends creating a new life for those people in West Africa through the loss of Kyle.″
The plan is for Kyle’s pickup, filled inside and out, to be shipped by October. And when that happens, the sadness of seeing a memory of the son they tragically lost will be replaced by hope that their son lives on in the hearts and minds of kids they will likely never meet.
“Knowing how much Kyle loved his pickup and how much he loved people, we know he would happy this is where his pickup ended up,” Scott said. “And that makes us happy.’’