Inmates at the New Mexico Central Minimum Correctional Facility in Los Lunas did a beautiful job of restorating a 1949 fire truck. It’ll go on to be used by the Forestry Service in connection with the Smokey Bear balloon to help promote the idea of preventing forest fires. That’s surely an admirable aim.
We hope the inmates will feel proud of what they’ve achieved — producing something of museum quality, something that will go on to have a positive purpose in life.
The inmates, according to Mark Gefroh, auto body instructor at the facility, worked in a “glorified hay barn” on a shoestring budget.
They have also repaired and restored pickup trucks, tractors and bailors. Auto repair experience may help the inmates find jobs on the outside. Auto mechanics are highly-skilled individuals whose skills are much in demand. Perhaps the inmates’ work with the restored cars will open new worlds to them, give them both a career and an interest. It may help them become integrated into the community more readily, finding things in common with those in the burgeoning world of classic cars.
We applaud the inmates, their instructors and the corrections department for such a wonderful program. We urge them to continue to work with outside groups, perhaps teaming up with classic car clubs or museums. It would be a good way for the inmates to make contacts with the outside world.
Good job, guys!