- Associated Press - Saturday, May 6, 2017

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Brandon Libey’s senior project will likely take a couple of extra hands to haul to Pullman High School on May 18 when he presents it to a panel at school.

The 18-year-old created a functional bench seat out of a teal 1967 Ford pickup tailgate in memory of his grandfather, Gary Beedy, who drove the same kind of truck back in the 1970s.

Libey held back tears in the front yard of his parents’ home as he recalled his deceased grandfather and the relationship they had.

“He always went the extra mile to do anything he could,” Libey said.

Beedy worked for the Spokane Napa Distribution Center for nearly a decade before he acquired the Pullman Napa Auto Parts store and renamed it Beedy Auto Parts. Beedy died in 2013.

When Libey and his friends spotted a similar bench with a wooden base in Colfax, he decided he would take the idea a step further. He began dedicating hours to creating his own bench to honor Beedy and complete his senior project, a graduation requirement at PHS.

“It just kind of motivated me to build something to remember him by,” Libey said.

Libey found and hauled the body of the truck home from Spokane in July and got to work at a shop belonging to his other grandfather. There, the other grandfather provided a place and some tools for Libey to use in constructing the bench before it was hauled to Myers Auto Rebuild & Towing for sanding.

A before photo of the truck shows rust and dirt caked on the body. Libey said it took over three months of sanding to get the bench to its polished state, under the direction of Libey’s mentor, Steve Myers Jr., who works at Myers Auto Rebuild & Towing.

As part of the project requirements, Libey will present a time log, poster, reflective essay and mentor report to a panel in May and give an 8-12 minute presentation on the project.

Libey estimates he has put 150 hours and approximately $2,000 into the project, which required a minimum of 25-30 hours and no financial investment.

“I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do with it,” Brandon said.

The structure of the bench uses genuine truck parts and takes inspiration from the model’s teal and white seats for the cushion.

The bench also plugs into an outlet and a switch on its side lights up the red taillights.

If the presentation goes well, Libey has committed to attend Washington State University after his graduation in June. There, he plans to study agriculture technology and management - another tribute to his other grandfather, Ronald, a retired farmer.

As for the bench, Libey’s mother, Ami, said it is a piece that will stay in the family forever. She and her husband, Lyle, will keep the bench at their house, perhaps for a game room.

“My dad would be super proud to see what he accomplished,” she said.

Libey said he might also showcase the bench at the Chipman & Taylor Classic Car Show in Pullman in May, hosted by Chipman & Taylor Chevrolet, where he and his father work. Brandon hopes to get a good photo of the Chevy dealership owner, Fran Amend, posed with the newly polished Ford tailgate.

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Information from: The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, https://www.dnews.com


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